Partnership to keep pupils safe online
Parents in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being encouraged to chat to their children about online safety as part of a new local campaign ‘Kids Safety Net’. The NSPCC, in conjunction with the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme, The ICT Service, Anglian Learning, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board, Cambridgeshire PSHE, Meridian Trust and Healthy Schools are set to launch the six-month campaign ‘Kids Safety Net’ at Northstowe College on 9th March 2023.
Partners aim to support parents, carers and relevant professionals to feel confident in talking about online safety with the children they know and work with, so that they know they can always talk to someone about anything that is worrying them. Following the campaign’s launch, the NSPCC will begin hosting a number of free workshops designed to give parents further support when it comes to navigating the online world.
Gail Sayles, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager for the East of England, said: “We know that the impact of online harms can affect children long into adulthood and it’s up to us as adults to ensure a generation of children are not negatively impacted by what they see or are exposed to online.
“Our campaign will empower parents to understand how to help keep their children safer online and ensure they have the necessary knowledge to feel confident when tackling this difficult issue.”
At the launch event a brilliant play from NK theatre will be performed, which will also be live streamed to schools across the region primarily focusing on years 6 and 7.
The play centres on the sharing of images and the many forms that can take across the various social media platforms. It tells the story of Sam, a 14-year-old girl who is popular and thinks she is tech savvy, she has a Tik Tok account and after convincing her mum she also joins Snapchat. However, she is desperate to join Instagram and talks about becoming “instafamous”. Even though her mum had said no she sets up a profile and soon starts to get drawn in by it.
Camilla Saunders, Director of Inclusion at Anglian Learning said: “Learning is at the heart of this campaign. If a parent or carer has more awareness of the online world and the potential harm it poses on children and young people, they will be more equipped to help prevent further threats that can have a devastating impact.
“It is so important that we remain vigilant and tech savvy and are aware of the latest trends children may be taking part in on the internet. But it’s also important we keep the door open for regular conversations so we can spot the signs of online harms sooner and this campaign will give local parents these tools and knowledge for free.”
Dave Sargent, Strategic Exploitation Lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Board, said: “We want every child in Cambs and Peterborough to be able to achieve their full potential and be kept safe from harm. Working with experienced partners, such as the NSPCC, is helping us to raise awareness around the issue of online safety in the county.”
The campaign will also signpost parents and carers to useful websites and resources that can help children if they have been impacted by something upsetting they have seen online, such as Childline, the NSPCC Hub and the charity’s Chatbot and where to go if they need to report something. The webpage, hosted by one of the campaign partners Healthy You, will be launched at the beginning of the campaign.
Joanne Howling, Healthy Schools Coordinator at Healthy You, said: “This partnership means more local families will have access to essential online safety services that can help parents keep their children safe online.
“Our joint campaign is empowering local people to take advantage of free workshops which will enable them to learn more about their child’s online world, spot the signs of online abuse and ensure that the county’s children are protected.
“We will be launching a dedicated webpage where anyone local can go to find more support and sign up to our free workshops.”
For further information about workshops and keeping your child safe online please visit: NSPCC – Healthy Schools (healthyschoolscp.org.uk)