Online safety is an increasingly essential part of our children’s lives - so much so that it’s been made a part of the new, compulsory Relationships and Health Education curriculum in the UK. The lockdown at the start of the pandemic only made that need all the more evident - children were spending more time than ever on their devices, and there was often little that teachers could do to make sure that their pupils were using the internet safely at home.
According to a report by Barnardos
, almost half of teachers surveyed said that online safety issues like excessive screen time and cyberbullying affected their teaching - but only around half of teachers (53%) had actually taught a class in online safety in the last year. So what can we do to make sure teachers actually feel confident to give this topic the attention it deserves, rather than just attaching it to another subject or giving it just one lesson a year?
Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial that we provide teachers with the skills they need to keep up with the frantic pace of tech. Around 65% of teachers in the report said they felt ‘confident’ teaching children about online safety - less than the number of parents who said they felt comfortable. When teachers were asked what would help increase their confidence, almost a third of them said they wanted extra CPD-hours in online safety.
At Natterhub, we’re hosting regular webinars to make sure teachers feel confident using our platform, as well as free, bespoke training sessions for schools. Check out our website for more details.
Support from home
One of the big issues when it comes to discussing online safety is figuring out who should take the lead. Parents will argue that online safety should be taught in a formal school setting, while teachers argue that since most of children’s screen time happens at home, parents should be in charge of making sure children are safe.
The truth is, everyone shares the responsibility of keeping children safe online. Teachers can provide clear and simple lessons on acceptable online behaviour, but only parents can ensure they’re being followed at home, and both teachers and parents can act as trusted adults for a child to turn to when they need help.
Looking for a way to reach out to your parent community? This handy guide
explaining how Natterhub works is the perfect way to broach the subject of online safety at home. We’ve also got loads of resources you can share with families
, including a contract that parents and children can sign to agree on healthy device use at home.
Understanding our relationship with technology
We’re all obsessed with our devices, and we’ve been using them more than ever since the lockdown began. According to a report by the Cybersmile Foundation
from earlier this year, 46% of young people aged 12-16 would say they’re ‘addicted’ to their smartphones. 60% said their screen time had a negative impact on important parts of their life like sleeping and studying.
Understanding the ways that we use technology now is the first step to forming better habits. That’s why Natterhub’s ‘Balance It’ lessons explore topics such as the difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ screen time, or the reason why dopamine makes it so difficult to put down our devices.
Teaching online safety is only possible with a ‘whole-school’ approach - one that involves every member of the school community, from the headteacher to the lunchtime volunteers, as well as both pupils and their parents. But for that approach to work, we need to make sure that teachers have the resources, confidence and support that they need to teach these crucial skills in a way that sticks with children for life.
If you’re interested in using Natterhub to prepare your pupils to thrive online, or want to know more about how it works, drop us an email at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help you.