Safer social media
Safe is a new programme of practical activities, from the not-for-profit organisation, DigitalME, designed to develop primary school children’s skills, self-confidence and safety awareness when using social network sites.
There are now over 1,000 schools engaged in the Safe initiative and the project is going from strength to strength. DigitalME is now looking into how a similar approach could be used with young people at secondary schools around the UK.
A ‘cycling proficiency test’ for social networking
The programme essentially gives children the equivalent of a cycling proficiency test for social networking. They learn important lessons in how to spot dangers, protect themselves and feel confident online. When they have met the criteria, the children get a Certificate in Social Networking Safety to show how much they’ve learned.
Tim Riches, CEO of DigitalME, explains how the project works: “Children complete a set of social network challenges, ranging from simple tasks like setting up a profile and making friends through to creating blogs, publishing media and feeding back on each others’ work. The activities take place within a secure, moderated schools social network or virtual learning environment.”
"They learn important lessons in how to spot dangers, protect themselves and feel confident online."
Fun and challenging free resources
The Safe project is playing a key role in helping children to make positive and informed choices when they are creating and sharing content online.
Combining a safe social network, free downloadable materials and carefully developed teacher resources, the Safe programme sets out to enable any primary school to easily deliver a range of curriculum-linked activities designed to develop everyone’s digital literacy skills.
Tim adds that there are also paper-based group activities, which are valuable for emphasising the three core questions that children are always encouraged to consider: What information are you sharing? Who are you sharing with? Is this the most appropriate space?