Myth vs Reality - New toolkit from Childnet

Childnet launches new resources to support young people as only 15% of 11-14s say they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Children’s charity Childnet launch new resources to address online pornography, healthy relationships and body image online.

Brand new resources have been launched by children’s charity Childnet, as part of its work in the UK Safer Internet Centre. The ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit covers the issues of pornography, healthy relationships and body image and is designed to be used with young people aged 11-14.

Whilst 80% of 11-14s surveyed by Childnet said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships. After taking part in the activities, 77% of those surveyed felt they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Following on from the huge success of the ‘Crossing the Line’ toolkit launched in 2016, which covered the issues of sexting, peer pressure, cyberbullying and self-esteem, this new toolkit includes a range of videos, quick activities and adaptable lesson plans based on the real experiences of young people.

The toolkit was created following focus groups conducted in five schools across the UK, where young people expressed the need for education about the portrayal of gender, bodies and relationships online with a particular need for education about the reality of online pornography.

One boy aged between 11 -13 in a focus group stated that: “the less educated people are about sex and relationships the more they are going to try and look for it.”

With Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) becoming statutory in all schools from September 2020, these resources provide schools with much needed practical, thoughtful and helpful resources to support them in teaching RSE. It also comes as the UK prepares to be the first country in the world to implement an age-verification system for online pornography.

The toolkit has been tested in seven schools across the UK where both teachers and pupils tried out the resources and provided feedback about the impact it had had in their school.

Research was conducted with young people aged 11-14 before they completed the toolkit, providing over 600 responses:

  • 80% said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, but only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • Only 23 % said that they could recognise the difference between what is considered the ‘ideal’ body image online and the reality of a realistic and healthy body
  • Only 23% said that they knew what makes a healthy relationship online
  • After taking part in the activities in the toolkit, young people aged 11-14 reported on the impact that it had, with over 450 responses. Schools saw an increase in confidence and knowledge of the issues in the toolkit:

  • 90% said they now felt confident in supporting themselves and others with the issues related to online pornography
  • 77% said they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • 69% said the lessons made them feel more confident in supporting my friends online when it came to issues around body image
  • 59% felt confident in supporting themselves and others with unhealthy relationships online
  • Will Gardner OBE, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
    “The issues that affect young people online are changing and are complex. It is vital that all young people are given the opportunity to discuss the pressures they face online, and develop the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality.

    We have created this toolkit to support and empower educators in exploring these challenging and often interrelating topics with confidence, and to allow them to help their pupils develop the strategies they need to navigate the online world. It’s clear from those schools who have taken part that these resources are much needed and can have a real impact on the lives of young people.”

    One secondary school teacher from Gravesend said:
    “The pupils loved the lessons and one year 9 class asked me when the next lesson was. When I said it was a one-off they said 'we need more lessons like this'. (…) Thank you so much for asking us to be part of the trial - I also learnt a lot."

    A year 9 pupil commenting on the healthy relationships activities said that: "This lesson helps people who are silently struggling. I learnt about how communication, respect, trust and boundaries are key."

    Another young person said, “I learnt what [pornography is] about and where I could go if I needed to talk about it or needed help and that you don't need to look a certain way for other people."

    For more information on how the toolkit can be used in education settings read this piece on ‘How teachers can use the ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit’

    Written by Childnet International on May 02, 2019 12:25

    Radicalisation

    What makes young people turn to extremism?

    As 2017 comes towards its closure, it’s only natural to look back on the year’s events. Whilst we should count our blessings on some fronts, it’s with a feeling of incredible sadness that we remember those who have lost their lives due to acts of terrorism.

    In May, when the news hit that the Manchester Arena had been targeted, the British public drew a sharp intake of breath. Previous terrorist attacks had been centred on London, the country’s capital and an obvious target. Now we were seeing terrorism occur outside the boundaries of what we’d become used to, not just geographically but demographically too. Ariana Grande had been a child star, greatly admired by the young people who had come in their thousands to see her live performance. The attack on the arena had been premeditated with this in mind. Out of the 22 people killed, six were under 18 and there were 170 children in the foyer who witnessed the attack.

    Are we looking for somebody to blame?
    When considering those who commit these dreadful crimes, our natural reaction turns to anger. We search for an explanation, some cause that drives these people to act with such evil, often laying the blame at the door of religion or brainwashing or an egocentric desire for fame or martyrdom. What we find most confusing is that the people committing these acts of violence - not just in the UK, but across Europe - are not citizens of another country, but people born and raised in the very countries they choose to attack.

    In the TED Talk ‘What we don’t know about Europe’s Muslim kids and why we should care,’ Deeyah Khan talks in detail about her experience as a Muslim growing up in Norway, where, as a young female musician she struggled to be accepted by both her own community and the predominantly white non-Muslim society in which she was born. After being continually harassed and threatened, at the age of 17 she fled to London, but was quickly met with the same prejudices. Describing herself as feeling lost and falling apart, she eventually moved to the US, giving up her music career because of fear. In doing so, she made a pledge: to help other young people in Europe who feel trapped in a position between family and culture.

    The gap between country and culture
    As a film director, Deeyah Khan now uses her experience to generate awareness of the clash of cultures between Muslim parents who prioritise honour over their children's desire for freedom. She argues that we need to understand what is happening to fight the pull of extremism. Over the last few years she has spent her time interviewing convicted terrorists, Jihadis and former extremists to find out how and why they fell victim to extremist organisations and ideologies. In her own words, she describes meeting: “Not monsters, but broken people. People who were torn apart from trying to bridge the gaps between their families and the countries they were born in. People looking for a sense of significance, belonging and purpose.” She found that people were lured by extremist groups because their leaders promised them the things they needed: a voice, visibility, importance and a community that loves and accepts them. Sadly, many of these groups have their own agenda: to channel people’s vulnerabilities and frustrations towards violence.

    How technology has enabled extremism
    Former Islamist extremist, Maajid Nawaz, now a British activist and prominent critic of Islamism, cites similar reasons for being drawn into extremism. Born in Essex, he recalls the feeling of being divided between his Pakistani and British identities as an important factor in his struggle to find his own identity. In his TED Talk, he discusses his own journey into extremism at the age of 16 and now, how borderless technologies and digital activism have enabled extremist organisations to propagate their messages across the world, capitalising on communication channels that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Whilst the Internet has brought us freedom to harvest information, we also know that it’s the perfect tool to reach and influence young people sitting at home in their bedrooms. Exchanges take place under the radar and can go undetected. In becoming part of an online extremist group, young people feel they’ve become part of something in which they feel exclusive and privileged, and often feel more valued than they would in wider society.

    What can we do as educators?
    Those of us in the teaching profession will be familiar with the Prevent Duty, part of the overall counter-terrorism strategy which aims to reduce the terrorist threat to the UK by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. One of the key strategy objectives is to respond to the ideologies spread by extremists that it is not possible to be both Muslim and British, and that Muslims living in the UK should not participate in our democracy.

    The Internet is one of key channels that extremist groups exploit to spread their messages. By publishing fake news and propaganda, they aim to influence and manipulate young people’s perceptions of themselves and the world, ultimately impregnating their theories behind the justification for extremism and terrorist behaviour.

    As teaching professionals, we can help prevent extremism through education, but also through the exchange of dialogue. PSHE lessons provide the perfect opportunity to do this. Young people should be encouraged to talk about how they use the Internet and how they evaluate and interpret the content they see. Conversations should include the understanding of how Internet content is produced, what people’s motivations are for producing particular content, and how students can make a valid judgement between what is, and what isn’t a credible source of information. These lessons can also prove invaluable for sharing experiences of content seen online that students may have felt upset by, or content they don’t understand and would like to discuss. It may also open the door for those being contacted by extremists, or who have researched extremism to seek help if they are feeling isolated.

    Get up to speed on radicalisation awareness

    If you’re in need of additional support on the subject of anti-radicalisation, the topical resources from E-safety Support have been designed to help all members of the school community (pupils, parents and staff) understand more about the issue of radicalisation and in particular the part the Internet plays in encouraging people to consider extremist views.

    Resources available include classroom materials, a parent guide, a school checklist, school policy and CPD accredited staff training

    Premium Plus members can access all the resources from their E-safety Support dashboard.
    Free members can download the anti-radicalisation checklist and also preview the online training.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on November 09, 2017 11:18

    E-safety Tips for Whole School Engagement

    15 tips to encourage pupils, parents and staff to get involved in e-safety


    E-safety SeminarThe recent E-safety Seminar held in collaboration with ChatFOSS, saw teachers from across the country coming together to discuss e-safety issues in their schools.

    We heard from Henry Platten of eCadets about empowering children to embrace technology. Michael Brennan from Tootoot discussed his experience of bullying at school and how this lead to the development of their safeguarding reporting tool for schools. Tim Pinto led a discussion on the Ofsted requirements for e-safety and Alicia Coad of ChatFOSS rounded off the formal presentations with information on social media and working with parents.

    To complete the day, all the delegates worked together to come up with 15 tips to help engage the whole school community with e-safety. Here are their suggestions:

    Pupil Empowerment

  • Enlist Cyber-Buddies as peer mentors and a point of contact for pupils
  • Give students a voice on e-safety issues
  • Carry our data surveys in the classroom on current apps etc
  • Engaging Parents

  • Share survey findings with parents
  • Share e-safety videos with parents too
  • Regularly drip-feed e-safety news/web links to keep it current
  • Curriculum

  • Ensure all staff and governors are up-to-date with e-safety issues
  • Involve all staff with e-safety education, in particular PSHE
  • Have students deliver curriculum content in assemblies etc
  • Digital Literacy

  • Encourage pupils to choose a new name for e-safety/digital well-being
  • Work with pupils and staff to create a school policy
  • Establish 'Digital Leaders' to help share knowledge
  • Staff

  • Ensure all staff understand everyone is responsible for e-safety
  • Let staff know that it's ok to ask for help
  • Include videos in e-safety awareness training
  • If you would like to share your tips for engaging the whole school, please email news@e-safetysupport.com

    An extra tip received from Mary at a secondary school in London is to include e-safety tips on student planners.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on July 07, 2016 11:59


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