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May 07
2009

E-safety - if it moves, block it...?

Posted by: mark

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I attended the Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning Cyberbullying Conference in Wakefield yesterday.  It was a fantastic event attended by a range of education staff from across the 12 LEAs within this grid for learning.

Learning Curve was exhibiting at the event, and it was a great opportunity to meet with schools and LEA staff, and to demonstrate our e-safety resources.  I am delighted to say that the feedback to Keeping Myself e-Safe was extremely positive.

What was also interesting was that this was an opportunity to see the different e-safety solutions currently available to schools all under the one roof.  Unfortunately, most products seem to work on the principle that e-safety means blocking content or resources, or tracking everything which goes through the school network.  I simply cannot agree that this approach is a worthwhile or justifiable  e-safety solution.  Whilst this may tick the “it’s not happening on our PCs” box for schools, it does nothing to educate young people about the e-safety issues which they face.  And of course most young people have online access in all sorts of places away from the school: at home; at a friend’s house; on a mobile device; or even on a games console.

Imagine if we took a similar approach to road safety.  We know roads can be dangerous, but we do not ban our children from going near them.  Instead, we teach them how to cross the road safely and responsibly.  In my opinion, we have to teach e-safety in schools in exactly the same way.

As a postscript, I did see one e-safety resource which, like Keeping Myself e-Safe, actually supports teaching and learning.  It’s a product called Us Online by Roar Educate and I think that their collection of 6 online interactive e-safety activities are a perfect complement to animated stories within Keeping Myself e-Safe.

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A generation thing?
written by Lee Carson , May 07, 2009
Maybe once a generation of adults arrive who don't have "the fear" when faced with the internet this attitude will change. I know in school I see staff and parents who persist with a "head in the sand" approach.
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written by Aidan , May 07, 2009
Mark,I couldn't agree more with you. In a recent visit to Austria, we found that they don' t have any filtering at all. They believe the filtering should be in the student's own head. They discuss what is (in)appropriate and why. I realize we have a different culture I'm the UK but we could learn a lot from our European counterparts.
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