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How Laughology’s PSHE Lessons Help to Develop Online Safety

childrens online safety blog

In an ever-changing digital world, online safety has become an important part of PSHE education. As teachers, we want our pupils to enjoy using the internet and digital media, but we’re also aware of how important it is that children stay safe, develop positive boundaries and understand what to do if things go wrong in their digital life.

Why are online safety lessons so important?

Online learning, gaming and socialising can be a wonderful thing. We can build and create friendships with people from different parts of the world. We can learn all manner of things from a YouTube video. We can even, if we’re particularly skilled, win millions of dollars from a gaming competition.

All of these things, as well as so many more, can make the online world an inviting place for our young people. Without boundaries, however, thing can quickly spiral out of control. Are the friends they meet online, genuine friends? Are the games they play appropriate? How does it all affect their wellbeing and mental health?

All of this means that we have a responsibility, as educators, to teach children about the importance of online safety in a consistent, thorough way. Just as the ‘stranger danger’ lessons featured in many primary schools in the 80s and 90s, online awareness has become a staple of the 21st century classroom. Hopefully, though, taught in a mildly less terrifying way…

The positive impact of online safety lessons

Increasing children’s awareness of appropriate online behaviour can only enhance their digital experience. It’s not about banning all use of the internet, it’s about teaching children the right way to use it. It’s about giving them strategies to use if and/or when things get tough.

Unfortunately, the online world provides a platform for cyber-bullies and ‘trolls’. Children are vulnerable if they are not aware of what can be done to stop them. E-safety work in Computing lessons helps children to become aware of the dangers, but it’s the PSHE lessons that help build the online safety strategies they can rely on.

A consistent message has a positive impact too. Not only must the children discuss why boundaries and awareness are important, they should be able to take these strategies into their teenage years and beyond. As teachers, then, we are in the position to develop smart, digitally savvy children who are able to take the digital world in their stride.

Teaching online safety using the HCS Programme

From the foundation stage all the way through to Year 6, the Happy Centred School PSHE programme teaches children to build and develop their online safety skills through powerful questioning and related activities. This approach ensures that they develop their understanding of digital safety and are then able to put the skills into practise.

Below are some examples of the questions for children to consider.

Foundation Stage:

  • What would you do if you saw something on your device that didn’t seem right?
  • Is there a difference between winning/losing a game in the playground and winning/losing one online?
  • What is friendly/unfriendly behaviour and what can we do about it?

Key Stage One:

  • How would you spot a stranger online and what would you do if they contacted you?
  • How easy is it to spread ‘fake news’?
  • Is everything on the internet true and how do we know?

Key Stage Two:

  • What are the risks of online activity and how can you protect yourself?
  • How do we show respect for people online, including when we’re anonymous?
  • What kind of things are/are not appropriate to say online?
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