Safer Internet Day 2016 equips children with armour for internet safety

Schoolchildren across the region have taken part in Safer Internet Day, a global event designed to help “promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people”.

We spent the morning with pupils and staff at Whitefield Primary in Liverpool where the school’s eCadets led online safety training for their fellow pupils, and all years enjoyed a special assembly designed to highlight the potential dangers of playing online games against complete strangers.

Nadine Carroll, headteacher at Whitefield School, said: ” These days, it is essential to equip children with armour for internet safety. Events like this are absolutely vital to educate the citizens of tomorrow of the dangers they face today.

“Our eCadets do an incredible job as we firmly believe the children learn more when taught by their peers.”

In the afternoon, Bickerstaffe School played host as we joined the older pupils in watching Jenny’s Story, a hard-hitting true story about a girl who was groomed online. The younger years also got involved designing fun posters but all activities carried a serious message about staying safe online.

Explaining why Safer Internet Day was important to her, Year 5 pupil Lottie said: “I use the internet a lot and loads of young children don’t understand the dangers of people pretending to be somebody they’re not.

“If we don’t have a Safer Internet Day, we will be more vulnerable to the people who are faking.”

Safer Internet Day  – a global event now in its 6th year – is coordinated  by the UK Safer Internet Centre. Over a thousand organisations get involved and pupils and staff can access resources designed to highlight the potential dangers of using the internet, as well as providing guidance and support to children when online.

eCadets is a structured, pupil-led peer empowerment eSafety programme for 3-18 year-olds; schools can join the programme and work towards achieving the eCadet Gold Mark. Schools appoint their own eCadets who learn about online safety and then provide peer-led eSafety training within their school.

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