Want to Hangout?
With isolation from unnecessary social interactions a pivotal step in our behaviour at the moment, we want to ensure that there are ways that friends can safely stay in touch.
Google Hangouts is part of the Google Suite applications we have access to, and I have turned it on for members of class 3 to see if it a welcome method for communication. I will discuss it in a little way down this post….
One aspect of my job that has been forefront in my mind over the last few days of planning, is that of cybersafety. As there will be an increased reliance on technology, it is imperative that there is a continuation of keeping children safe. As this is now almost entirely at home, there are some steps you can take to ensure this is maintained:
- talk to your children about their use of technology: get to know the apps they use, why they use them and learn about the positive aspects of each (there are some great TikToks out there!)
- discuss privacy settings and go through them together to see what are the most appropriate ones to turn and why
- make sure that any video chats are done in a public room
- if they do have access to text chatting, remind them about being kind. We have the rule of, “if you wouldn’t say it in front of a grandparent, then don’t say it online,” as a way of quickly self-determining if something is appropriate.
We have plenty of resources/links available in our E-safety section, could be an ideal time to go through them or seek out further guidance on such matters. It can a very difficult part of the parent/child relationship to discuss, and maybe control access to, specific technologies, but when done together it can foster trust and responsibility.
Right then – Google Hangouts…
The app uses their school accounts to chat through the Google servers, and this has some benefits:
- it is integrated into our existing infrastructure, so no additional sign-ups are needed
- it is securely ringfenced, it can only be used to chat to other Grindleford children for who the service has been activated – NO EXTERNAL CHATS CAN OCCUR IN OR OUT
- it is fully logged
It can be reached via any browser, in the same way the Classroom app can, using this URL:
And there are dedicated apps in the relevant app stores for iOS and Android if your children use such devices.
You can then enter the name of a friend to start a connection, or create groups of commonly-used friends to have a group chat.
It is ideal for discussing the associated work being set (I would say that!) or indeed probably a lot more for social time.
We did a class test of Hangout video chat on Friday, but I am hesitant to deploy such technology due to safety concerns at this moment in time: I see this text-based chat app as being an important factor in determining whether to turn that on in the future.
There are a myriad of ways in which children will be communicating during this period, this one offers a safe, secure and controlled option.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions over the app.