YOUNG people at Kearsley Academy are aware of the dangers of the online world, but they also realise what a great resource it is.
Staying safe online and developing the confidence to use the latest technologies forms part of the curriculum at the school — which this year celebrated Safer Internet Day by educating parents about being online while explaining how it can be used positively to enhance learning and develop knowledge and skills.
Director of new technologies at the school, Raiharvinder Singh, said: “Protecting yourself on the internet is embedded in the curriculum.
“We have a duty to address and explain the issue of staying safe online — such as the digital footprint of people.”
He added: “But at this school we show pupils the positive side of using new technologies, technology is a part of life.
“It was the student council who came up with the idea of sending out leaflets to parents about e-safety and how technology is also a positive resource.”
Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones.
This year the focus was on parents as well as teachers and young people around the world.
The student council created a colourful leaflet for parents, as part of the week and staff and students have been learning more about new technologies based on the theme.
Mr Singh said: “It is about creating a better internet together.
“Technology is moving forward and changing all the time and I am always researching the latest developments and explaining it to teachers and pupils.
“Students at this school are aware of the dangers of the internet but also know how it can create a positive environment.”
He explained, for example, how the world of Snapchat can be used to showcase work to other people, while for others it enhanced what they were learning in class and stressed he wanted pupils to be aware of dangers but have the confidence to use it.
Tips to parents included installing parental controls and talk openly about being online with children and how to stay safe.
Jacob Brooks, aged 12, said: “Parents can be quite worried about young people using their internet, but the positives outweigh the negatives.”
Talisha Peach, aged 12, said: “We know about the digital footprint left of what you have done online. I speak to my parents about using the internet.”
Alex Wallace, aged 15, added: “”We are aware of the consequences of actions on the internet but also the positive difference it can make.”
Daria Siokalo, aged 16, said: “The internet can be a scary place but we have learned at lot from Mr Singh about using it positively.
“We have the confidence to speak to teachers about using it and report any issues we have.”
Chelsie Rowland, aged 15, concluded: “I think some young people do not understand the consequences of their actions when they are on the internet and think they are just having fun and playing on their phone — but we are taught about using it in a positive way.”