All Heywood Prep students are digital natives. Facebook and Youtube were already in their fifth year by the time our Year 6 students were born. If Alexa – Amazon’s digital assistant – was real, she would be in Year 3, while Siri would be in Year 6 preparing for senior school entry! Our children have grown up in a world ‘connected’ and are more used to ‘searching up’ an answer than visiting the library or researching using a non-fiction book.
Screen time and an over reliance on tech are always difficult considerations for parents. The Coronavirus pandemic and resulting remote learning periods led to increased use of technology for everybody but ultimately showed us how adaptable our children are and how internet technologies can have a huge positive impact.
In order to ensure that our pupils not only survive, but thrive in today’s world, it is essential that they are provided with rigorous online safety education to build online resilience. At Heywood, our aim is to not only follow rules of eSafety but also to produce responsible digital citizens who recognise the positives as well as potential pitfalls of being online. From Year 1 to 6, all pupils are given lessons that will help them on the road to being safe, responsible and respectful as they navigate the digital world. This week, Year 2 have made a digital citizenship pledge and learnt about media balance and what to do when things don’t go to plan; Year 4 have identified some of their online responsibilities and discussed how these affect not only themselves, but their communities and beyond; whilst Year 6 have looked at the power of words and how we should use our increased connectivity to spread kindness and support rather than negativity.
The internet is a constantly growing, changing and evolving resource. It is impossible to stay ahead of every new craze, trend and potential threat. Navigating and making the most of digital technology requires a helping hand. Boundaries and role modelling positive media consumption at school and at home as well as secure internet filtering are part of the solution along with a partnership between pupils, parents and school. But in order to prepare children for the future, they have to be equipped with the skills to not only stay safe, but to make informed decisions as they participate online.
Please follow these links for some fantastic resources and up to date advice about a wide range of media concerns as well as parent guides to apps and websites.