E-safety, security and safeguarding are very important issues. They are subjects that we can never take our eyes off. There is an arms race going on between those who wish to preserve our online security and those who wish to take advantage of it. It is like the physical life we lead. There are good people and there are bad. The difference with being on line, however, is that it is much easier to make contact and everything can happen so quickly. Gullibility is something to be mindful of.
At the schools conference at the cricket club I met some pupils from Crook Primary School who were members of the e-cadet programme (a structured peer empowerment e-safety scheme which trains and supports a team of pupils to be able to help classmates to stay safe online). They had been leading on some e-safety messages for their friends back at school. Indeed they had held an assembly on the subject to encourage the children to think about their safety when using the new media. One of the pupils showed me the slides that they had created for the presentation. They were impressive.
They had also held some workshops in school and one of the exercises was to make up your own three rules to keep you safe. All the children would get involved and this led to a lot of discussion on the subject and a high degree of personal ownership. I thought about it myself and came up with my own three rules:
- Never put anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see (she is online now).
- Remember that everything that goes online is there forever (or at least a long time).
- Not everything you see on the internet is true.
I told them and they thought they were good ones, especially the bit about it being out there for a long time. Their teacher said that children of that age find it hard to think about forever as a concept.
The children were an inspiration. They were filled with enthusiasm for what they were doing and had a confidence that I am sure I never had when I was their age. The e-cadet programme looks very interesting and is something I need to find out more about yet on my experience with this group, our future is in e-safe hands.