When your digital footprint follows you into the world of work

Paris Brown is the 17 year old working with Kent Police on youth liaison as Britain's first young police and crime commissioner. The Mail on Sunday looked through her Twitter account, going back three years, and found some offensive comments. Teenagers can be susceptible to tweeting or posting things online that they may later regret. Paris Brown had tweeted about her local pizza delivery firm, saying they needed to learn to speak English. She had used the word "fags" talking about people on television, referred to "pikeys", said she fancied making hash brownies and expressed a desire to want to "cut everyone around me". Whether this makes her unfit for her new job is a subject for debate in itself, but the case certainly goes to show that it pays to consider your digital footprint when you post comments online.

Officials hadn't checked Paris' social media profile prior to her appointment, but there are probably many 17-year-olds who have social media profiles that are not 100% blemish free. Paris has tearfully said that she "doesn't want to be judged on Tweets that were written a long time ago. They are stupid tweets but they should not affect my future career." But, like it or not, these things are likely to come back to haunt you.

The case illustrates the huge implications of social media and the tendency for it to be used to publish throwaway comments to a large and unknown audience. For young people, the temptation to use it to to vent, show off, try to attract attention or be funny is almost impossible to resist. That is why it is more crucial than ever that from an early age children are given the skills to navigate these uncharted waters, and to make sensible decisions about how to use social media via e-safety education.

Lesson idea

The Paris Brown case provides an excellent opportunity to discuss digital footprints with students. Ask them to read about the case online, then explore the following questions:

  • How many of them have written something online that could be offensive?

  • Do they think that Paris Brown is guilty of being racist and homophobic?

  • Why would someone write something like the comments Paris tweeted?

  • What tips would they give to other students as ways of preventing situations like this?

  • Which websites are most likely to cause the most damage when you post comments online?

  • How easy is it to remove or delete comments that you have tweeted, or posted online?

  • What are the key lessons that we can learn from Paris Brown's situation?

Written by E-safety Support on April 08, 2013 14:50

E-safety across the curriculum

Teach and pupil at computerOnline safety should be taught through all curriculum areas and become part of the routine conversations teachers have with students. Following on from my article relating school internet safety to the Unicef Rights of the Child legislation, here are a few practical lesson ideas to engage students with e-safety topics.

English lessons
Students collaborate to create a new social networking site, having to analyse advantages and disadvantages of online learning and social media first then design the safety protocols for their new fictitious sites.

Students created RSA animations for revision to summarise case studies, having to consider how to protect their identities during filming so that the material could be shared online. See www.daviderogers.org.uk for more information on the project.

Get involved with journalism projects that force students to assess the processes of information gathering and sharing, and the difficulties of protecting identities and avoiding inappropriate media while blogging and filming for broadcast.

See www.jodebens.co.uk for more suggested activities.

Written by Jo Debens on May 16, 2013 14:20

Using the internet to engage parents in internet safety

We all know internet safety is important and that schools have a responsibility to bestow knowledge upon students of how to interact safely as consumers of online media. But how do we get parents engaged? Sure, we can ‘train’ children in safety procedures in-school and ensure there are layers of security protection available within the school microcosm…but what happens outside of school, where there are no limitations? Is it appropriate to simply block, filter and ignore? Is that all schools need to do? Just hope that at home or in the park on their mobile children don’t inadvertently step into muddy waters? Education isn’t about limitations; it’s about enabling free and equal access to the world, virtual or real.

At Priory School we invite parents into school for online safety training if desired, but our key method of sharing internet safety information with parents is our website and social media. Below is an image from our website containing lots of useful information for parents around online safety. There are specific links to The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) information and Parent Port. Links to these sources of useful information are tweeted out and appear on our Facebook page. If we are aiming to encourage safe practice of online learning, what better way than to actually use the social media we are talking about?

Written by Jo Debens on April 15, 2013 14:33

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