It is widely considered that e-safety in schools is a technology issue and is therefore solely the responsibility of the IT Lead – we disagree
When a pupil uses Twitter to cyber bully a classmate, this isn’t because they are using Twitter, but rather they are demonstrating bad behaviour on Twitter. Similarly, if a teacher ‘friends’ a parent on Facebook, the action of the teacher is a matter of school policy and not the fault of Facebook. E-safety is therefore not just a system of filters and monitors but more importantly a matter of education.
Should raising the issue of e-safety with all those responsible for the protection of young people therefore just be left to the IT department? Should it not also include all teachers, parents, non-contact staff and indeed the pupils themselves.
The diagram shown – ‘What happens in an Internet minute’, provides evidence to support e-safety awareness across the curriculum. For example the number of hours of music listened to on Spotify could lead to an interesting discussion in a music class about the copyright issues and how artists are affected by illegal downloads. Or Instagram can be explored in a creative arts lesson. Amazon sales and e-commerce in general could be developed through maths and financial awareness studies. There are so many incredible and positive ways to use the Internet, there is no reason why e-safety education should not be equally as diverse.
We must, of course, address the issues of risk. Stranger danger has always been a safeguarding issue – yes even before the Internet. And bullying happened in the playground long before Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and so on became some of the conduits for cyber bullies. Perhaps the new phrase ‘Digital Wellbeing’ rather than ‘e-safety’ may go some way to encourage those in more pastoral roles to look at ways to support online safety from a behavioural perspective.
It is important to remember that when Ofted introduced e-safety as part of the school inspection they stated as an indicator of inadequate practice:
“There is no progressive, planned e-safety education across the curriculum, for example there is only an assembly held annually”There are some great campaigns held throughout the year that highlight Internet safety issues, Safer Internet Day, the Childnet Film Competition, Anti-Bullying Week and so on. However, these should not be seen as stand-alone, one-off events, but more the culmination of a programme of learning throughout the year.
At E-safety Support we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and hear examples of how you are dealing with e-safety across the curriculum. Please use the comments section below to share your ideas with other teachers.
If you would like ideas about planning e-safety throughout the year, our 2016 planner is still available to download from your E-safety Support dashboard.
Picture Credit – ‘2016 What happens in an Internet minute’ is copyright Excelacom