Tuesday, 7 February 2012

E-Safety - Sound Advice

Spent this afternoon at a primary school presenting an e-safety talk with both teachers and then separately to parents. The content of each presentation is adapted to the needs and experiences of each group but does initially follow principle of a balanced view of the internet. Highlighting the enormous benefits ('biggest library', communication, collaboration, publishing, commerce, etc) it offers to users with the obvious concerns and problems that arise too (cyberbullying, inappropriate content, copyright, viruses, etc.)  You never seem to get a large group of parents together for sessions like this but I always enjoy talking with them and getting their views and opinions on e-safety. A fairly usual response is that "my children always know more about computers and using the internet than me!" Finishing the session with ways in which they can help and guide their children when using the web. Much of it centring around talking to their child about their use and what they do when online, becoming involved. Realising that this is a lot easier with primary school aged children, becoming much, much harder as they get older - speaking from experience as a parent of two children in their teens! Also shared with them a really good video produced by CEOP called "The Parents' and Carers' Guide to the Internet."

The teachers session too began with the pros and cons of using the internet, however the last part of the session focussed on resources teachers can use to help teach children about internet safety, along with time to reflect on their use of the internet and how to stay safe and remain professional online. It was therefore sad and disheartening to see this evening a report on the BBC Wales News website entitled "Facebook drinking posts teacher Elizabeth Scarlett reprimanded". A report about a 50 year old primary school teacher who was reprimanded by the GTCW over comments about drinking and parties appeared on her Facebook page which were viewed by pupils. She used Facebook to

"freely discuss her favourite pupils, she talks about the best site to buy sex toys, her sexual preferences and talks about alcohol with an 11-year-old."

She believed her Facebook profile was "set to the highest possible setting" and didn't realise that everyone could see her comments. 
It's interesting to look at teacher union advice on the use of social networks:
similar advice from them all making sure your profiles are locked down to friends only, don't befriend students or past students, don't talk about pupils or your work, think closely about your online friends - do they include parents and if so might this put you in a compromising position? Sound advice I would say, you wouldn't want to be in the position of teacher Elizabeth Scarlett would you?? 

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