For those of you who aren’t sure, CEOP is the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre run by the National Crime Agency. Its principle goal is to protect children from any online or offline threats and in particular sexual exploitation.
On their Think U Know website they have a range of resources and videos aimed at teaching some basics of eSafety to both children and adults ranging from simple cartoons highlighting ‘stranger danger’ through to some truly heart wrenching videos looking at sexual explotation and abuse.
This week CEOP launched a brand new video resource aimed principally at parents with the goal of highlighting the importance of speaking frankly to children about sex, relationships and the internet. The video takes us through a modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet using twitter, iMessage and Instagram. The idea is to highlight that sex and sexual talk amongst teenagers is nothing new, but that now there are more mediums through which children can converse and it’s important that we make sure lines of communication are open between parents and children and that they don’t feel embarassed speaking to an adult if something happens that they’re not comfortable with.
“Research tells us that having a supportive parent or carer can make all the difference in helping a young person learn to stay safe, but talking to your child about sex, relationships and the internet can be daunting.”
CEOP want parents and carers to understand that children are going to be exposed to things like nude selfies and online pornography because of the prevalence of technology in the lives of young people today. It is important that parents discuss sex and relationships in a calm and frank way so that should something go awry either online or in real life, they know they will always have someone who they can talk to.
This is true of teachers too; we are responsible for supporting those children who may not have support at home. Our pupils need to know that there is someone that they can talk to about situations that might make both them and the person they are talking to uncomfortable, particularly when we talk about online situations such as those involving nudity.
I always lead my eSafety talks with a blind vote asking children which social media they already use and always find a broad range of answers (most under 13 year olds have various social media accounts, ignoring all age restricitions). My goal in an eSafety session is to stress the importance of sharing online habits with a responsible adult and about thinking before you post – at no point would I ever tell children that they are not allowed on a social media site, that would pretty much be waving a red flag to a bull. Instead, I always make it clear to children that they must make sure their accounts are private and that they must show or let their parents know what they are doing online. I just have to hope that parents are willing to share this responsibility and help their children navigate the online world maturely.
So, check out the Think U Know website and take a look at their Romeo & Juliet video. Don’t forget to look at some of their other resources too – they have some really great advice if you’re worried. It’s a great site to have bookmarked whether you are a teacher, a parent or a pupil!
Former primary school teacher, computing coordinator, maths teacher and real-life geek girl, Cat is enthusiastic about getting teachers and children interested in coding and computing any way she can. She is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Educator and CAS Master Teacher and in her spare time performs in her local amateur theatre group.
Cat also founded Coding Evening for teachers, a network of social events to encourage teachers and community members to get together and share best practice for computing teaching.