As a whole school, we welcomed Jonathan Taylor (formerly a covert Internet Investigator with the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit). Jonathan is now an Independent Child Safeguarding expert specialising in E-Safety.
He worked with our children, staff (including our pastoral and technology leaders) and parents on the very hot topic of 'Technology and Living in a Digital Age', stating that we need to narrow the gap between parents as 'digital visitors' and children as 'digital residents'.
With children's lives becoming increasingly online, he spoke of it being parent's job to keep informed, be a good role model, and to build up a resilience with their child over time. Jonathan stated: "It cannot be solely the role of the school and educators - but rather the school is there to support the parent in managing their child's digital tattoo or footprint."
He was highly practical in his approach encouraging balance and moderation in all things. He made it clear that just placing restrictions on devices, was the lowest level approach to supporting young people with technology. He shared that the highest ranking and most successful approach, was for parents to get involved with their children and technology - to join in their games and be part of their world. This way we can develop responsible and safe users of technology.
Staff, children and parents fed back that they found the sessions thought provoking, full of top tips and a clear reminder that everyone has their part to play. One parent commented: "I was delighted that my child came home from the assembly today and took apps off their iPad, because they were reminded of the age restrictions and why this guidance is in place." Another parent attending the ParentWise session said: "Although the online issues seemed overwhelming at first, the uplifting message about creating a positive digital footprint for our children was very reassuring."
The importance of working together as a community to educate and safeguard our young people is paramount. We look forward to continuing this training and dialogue together through the year ahead.