Safer Internet Day 2014
Class 3 took part in Safer Internet Day on Tuesday with a range of activities aimed at raising awareness of several issues facing the use of the internet for young people today. We all know that technology is moving at a very fast pace, and there are numerous apps, websites, behaviours and devices that simply did not exist when we grew up. As such, the young generations are the first to encounter any resulting problems, and days like today (as well as our regular Cybersafety teaching) help prepare them for life online.
We started by exploring what sort of things the class do online, a wide and surprising mix of gaming, researching, gaming, posting images, gaming, chatting and gaming. We then imagined a brand new world whose contents we could decide and asked the question, what would make the perfect place? They made hundreds of terrific suggestions from luxuries such as free chocolate and huge zoos, to essentials like Mum and Dad (one of Nathan’s superb contributions). Then we made a second list – one of things we would not want in our new, perfect world. Again, hundreds of suggestions were made including violence, guns, nasty people, swearing, bullying, war and disease.
Relating these ideas to the real world, we explored how it is relevant to the internet today. It can be such a wonderful means to be creative, communicate and learn, but with the occasional danger of unwarranted content or people using it for illegal means. Thinking about their own potential behaviour online, they saw by how avoiding contributing to the unwanted aspects of the web, they would help to ensure that they are not part of any problems and part of an overall reduction in negativity. In addition, if any undesired things are encountered, they are to report them to trusted adults or online moderators linked to legal organisations.
Using some terrific videos from the Horrible Histories team, we recapped on some of the key messages covered in last term’s Cybersafety work about keeping details private, not downloading unknown content and being careful about what pictures, videos and comments are left online with all the possible repercussions this could entail. With current news littered with the extremes of such activities as neknominations with older groups, it is something they need to be aware of now to sow the seeds of responsible behaviour and awareness of consequences to their actions.
A short film by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre) clearly highlighted the seriousness of many of these issues that many don’t consider when joining social networks and sharing information.
After lunch, we returned to the positive aspects of life on the internet, by considering the amazing creativity that people enjoy. I showed them some designs made by school children that had won awards – apps for farmers to manager herds of cows, organisers for people with learning difficulties and Alzheimer’s and even a fun app using cartoon animals to teach young children how to tune musical instruments. Then it was over to them – an hour to brainstorm ideas aimed at entertaining, improving the lives of, or solving issues for people. They came up with a range of terrific ideas that were pitched to me, the investor, and then the class had the final say by voting on which they thought was the best. Here they are:
This group designed an app that offered help to many issues facing teenagers. From the practical side of alarms for PE kits and homework, it also has features that allowed teens to talk to others who were experiencing problems such as family breakups and ways to track money management. Their tagline was “You’re not the only one“.
This group designed an app to get children to organise their chores and reward them for doing them quickly and on time.
This group designed a complex game based in space. Credits have to be earned by doing good deeds before ships can be upgraded to take on further tasks.
Any Game Anywhere
This group designed a website that allows people to search for and play any game on any device. It does not allow people to communicate to avoid any unwanted issues.
How are you feeling?
An app aimed at people who are suffering from problems they want advice about. It offers suggestions on what to do, and the user can rate how successful they were. Any positive outcomes are rewarded with avatar upgrades to encourage people to act on good advice to improve well-being.
Along with a presentation (nice!), this group explained their ideas of an app that tracked your activity rate and even called you to tell you do some exercise when it knows you need to. It also makes suggestions on improving your lifestyle such as dietary choices.
I was so impressed with their ideas, and they got excited when I told them that these are the sorts of apps that can earn developers thousands of pounds. If they are hounding you for an iMac, an Apple Developer account and The Dummies Guide to iPad programming, I am sorry!
All in all, a great celebration of what the internet can do for us and how to be responsible when using it. If you want to know more, here are a couple of links you may want to follow:
- Advice to parents from CEOP
- List of resources to find out more – covers a range of areas, aimed at teachers, but perfect for parents too
- Conversation Starters – to initiate dialogue with your children
- Parent Checklist – some things to consider
If your child has access to the internet through a computer or mobile device, it is essential that you are aware of their behaviour and the limitations of the devices they use. If the links, or any other online resources, do not answer your questions then I am more than happy to see if I can offer any advice. Just pop in after school any time.