As part of the Digital Leaders Programme, young people receive online safety training via gamified online training platforms. We have two standalone platforms; one for primary pupils and one for secondary pupils. These platforms differ both in learning content and some functionality. The platforms also provide access to the Digital Leader Community (on the primary platform, teachers have the option whether to activate this feature or not) which allows young people to discuss important online safety topics and collaborate with peers.
Secondary Digital Leaders
The secondary platform can be accessed by pupils remotely, and so during the COVID-19 school closures, we have encouraged Secondary Digital Leader teams to continue working through the training modules. Secondary Digital Leaders can engage with the other aspects of the programme and training platform, from engaging in discussions on the Community to watching our Industry Q&A videos. We have also encouraged Secondary Digital Leaders to take the opportunity to engage with the leadership element of the programme, starting conversations at home about online safety topics.
Primary Digital Leaders
Primary pupils are only able to access the training platform with a teacher present and so to keep online safety on Primary Digital Leader’s minds during the COVID-19 school closures, we introduced a new aspect to the programme – weekly primary activities. At the start of the school closures, we began sharing activities for teachers to in turn share with their Primary Digital Leaders, all of which can be completed independently by the students at home. A new online safety activity has been sent every week and activities have ranged from word searches to writing and drawing tasks, all designed to keep online safety on young people’s minds and to encourage conversations on the subject at home within the family. Take a look below at Oskar from Groveland Primary School’s fantastic poster in response to one of the weekly primary activities.
This year the Childnet Film Competition was adapted to make entering from home easier than ever before and proved to be a great home learning project for young people. We were delighted to see Digital Leaders enter the competition which consisted of Solo, Group and Storyboard categories. One of our Digital Leaders went on to win the Secondary solo category! Take a look at the finalists films here.
During school closures young people (and adults alike) are having to adapt to changes to their usual day-to-day lives. Most young people are spending more time at home, and more time online. We asked our Digital Champions for their advice for other young people on how to keep well during this period.
The Digital Champions are Digital Leaders from across the country who were successful in applying to be ambassadors of the Digital Leaders Programme, representing the Digital Leader community and supporting the Childnet team.
Below you can read the fantastic and creative ideas the Childnet Digital Champions shared:
My top tips for these testing times are –
Keep occupied – The Olympics are cancelled, do your own! Create activities for you and your family in your garden or living room! It’s exercise but fun 🙂
Watch Netflix, watch cheesy shows to cheer you up!
Try not to focus on the bad figures – While there are live tolls of the numbers of cases, there are also live tolls on the recovered cases, try to keep track of that 🙂
Download zoom or Houseparty to stay in touch with friends and family – We are so lucky to have the internet and technology during these tough times so make the most of it! Use your phones and iPads to keep in touch with your friends and family! Especially grandparents, they are the ones who are likely to be alone so your video call could really lift both yours and their spirits!
Self-care – Do a face mask, buy yourself a nice bit of makeup to make yourself look gorgeous – for you! Get some chocolate on amazon or even a new football, we can’t go out so treat yourself 🙂
Talk to someone if you’re feeling down! If you’re worried or anxious tell a parent or a friend, worries are not one of those things that you want to keep to yourself, let it out and you will feel much better about it!
I have been setting myself up with a routine daily in terms of what I want to get accomplished. It’s really helped me, because I think as school-oriented people who have been taken out of that environment quite suddenly, we do suffer from not having an element of structure in our lives even when there’s not so much we need to do. The way to do this is not necessarily to plan things out by time but set yourself a couple of goals, if there’s something you particularly want/have wanted to do/learn etc.
I’m finding that learning a language and taking daily classes on Duolingo is something positive I can work towards daily and over a larger span of time.
I would also say sleeping too much is a classic mistake – waking up so that you have a good portion of the day ahead of you is massively important, because as students we’re sort of oriented to a very regular pattern of waking/sleeping and if we disturb that it makes us feel as though there’s less obligation to get things done.
Achievement really helps stave off feeling negative; it’s something positive you can do for yourself and only for yourself, which is something we don’t often get time to do day-to-day.
My top tips for keeping well during these times are to be aware of the media content you’re consuming, stay in touch and be kind to yourself. It is of course important to stay up to date with the news and make sure you have a sense of awareness of what is happening in the world, but too much media exposure can do more harm than good. Be aware of the amount of media you’re consuming, by staying up to date, but also not letting your enjoyment online be ruined by constant news and media exposure.
Staying in touch with friends and family can also really help with feeling alone in these uncertain times. I have found myself becoming closer to my friends and more appreciative of spending time with them due to new ways of connecting. Try a video call, or plan something different such as a virtual quiz night! There are lots of fun ways to stay connected online.
And finally, be kind to yourself. Know that it is okay to feel worried and alone during times like these, but also remember that it won’t be like this forever, and it will get better. Please talk to someone you trust if you ever feel as though things are getting too much, because you matter and even though times can be tough, please be kind to yourself.
Thank you to Cosima, Bella and Jess for sharing their fantastic top tips. We hope these tips help other young people who are spending a lot more time at home. If your team of Digital Leaders have top tips you would like to share please email [email protected].
As UK schools close, or run at a limited capacity as a result of COVID-19, we know that parents and carers are having to manage their child’s use of technology and help them learn remotely. This can feel overwhelming, but we are here to help!
Using the Secondary Digital Leaders training platform at home
Secondary Digital Leaders are able to access our training platform remotely and independently of their teacher. The programme provides a useful learning tool for use at home during this time and Digital Leaders are encouraged to use the additional features on the platform to connect with other Digital Leaders, especially as people find themselves isolated and spending more time online. Educating family members is also a great way to demonstrate the peer-to-peer training aspect of the programme.
Here are lots of other useful resources and tools that you as a parent or carer can use to help ensure your child is safe and happy online.
If you are a school or teacher, make sure that you send this information on to parents and carers in your school community!
As your children spend more time at home and are going to be online more than ever, we’ve pulled together a list of easy-to-use resources. They are broken up into ages and include quick activities, films and plenty more fun ways to engage with your children. From identifying fake news to online bullying – there is plenty for you and your family to use.
We will be adding more content for each age group as time goes on. If there are any particular topics or ways of working you would like to see more of then don’t hesitate to message or tweet us @childnet.
Getting advice and guidance if something goes wrong
As young people spend more time online there is also an increase in the chances they will see something online which isn’t intended for them. Whether this is fake news, impersonation, or mean comments, there are lots of places you can go to for help and advice on how to report this behaviour. Together as a family you can also help prepare your children and build their critical thinking skills.
Making a report
reportharmfulcontent.com is a website designed to help you report anything which you believe shouldn’t be online. There’s guidance about how to report different types of content as well as help with the next steps you can take if your report isn’t actioned by the site or service you have made it on.
Speaking to someone
For young people – depending on the age of your child there are a range of places they can go to for help. For younger children they can call Childline for help and support, and for older children The Mix offer free and practical advice.
For parents and carers – The O2 and NSPCC helpline can help you with any questions or concerns you may have about keeping your child safe online. They can provide you with advice and help to troubleshoot any problems your family may be facing.
For educators or professionals – The Professionals Online Safety Helpline will continue to operate Monday to Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm. This helpline can assist with any online safety issues or concerns any professional working with children and young people may have. For help and support, please email [email protected]
A family agreement is a great way to start a conversation with your whole family about how you all use the internet. As you have everyone at home, it’s a fantastic way to set boundaries and discuss how you are all going to use technology during this time. Where is tech going to be used in your home? How are you going to share it and what times of the day can different family members have access? It’s also a great way to discuss how to behave online and talk about what happens if something upsets or worries your child.
As a parent or carer, the best tool to support your child in leading a happy and safe life online is open conversation. Our Parents’ Guide gives advice on how to begin these discussions, how to work together as a family to support your child online, and how to handle difficult conversations or situations.
From livestreaming and parental controls, to grooming, our website has advice for parents and carers on a range of topics.
Staying connected with your peers
We are seeing some ingenious ways of people keeping in touch using technology, from virtual PE lessons with The Body Coach on YouTube, to year groups having Skype calls at the time when school breaks would be. There are so many ways that young people can stay connected during this time.
We would love to know how you are all staying connected during these school and work closures. Be sure to share your plans with us on Twitter @childnet.
This blog post was originally posted on the Childnet website.