Safer Internet Day 2017

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Wicid.TV was invited to attend the Safer Internet Day 2017 Convention at The Senedd in Cardiff Bay yesterday. A host of influential people, including Assembly members, a teacher and the director of UK Safer Internet Centre, addressed an audience of school pupils, teachers, parents and professionals.

Kirsty Williams, Assembly Member and Cabinet Secretary of Education opened proceedings by discussing the advantages of using the internet safely and how educators, parents and professionals have a responsibility to equip young people with the skills and tools to think critically and make judgements on what is true in an age of fake news.

She also mentioned Hwb Cymru’s new initiative, The Online Safety Zone, a one-stop shop for online safety aimed at learners, teachers and parents. The initiative ran a competition across schools in Wales for young people to design the logo and received over 100 entries. The winner was Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School’s Isabel Bates. The winning logo can be seen on the Online Safety Zone website.

Dr Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, was next to take the stage and she discussed internet safety in relation to the UNCRC (United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child).

  • Article 12 – Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes – this is particularly pertinent given the digital society we live in and the ever-increasing amount of young people accessing social media.
  • Article 16 – Every child has the right to privacy.
  • Article 17Children have the right to access information from the media – she aims to make the terms and conditions for websites more young people friendly, admitting they are often loaded with legal jargon and do not encourage young people to actively understand what they are signing up to. This also relates to Kirsty Williams’ suggestion that thinking critically online in an age of fake news is a priority.
  • Article 31Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities. As socialising is now something that largely takes place virtually, it is essential that young people are given the opportunities to do this in a safe and protected environment.
  • Articles 19, 34, 36 – Children have the right to be safe and protected from; violence, abuse and neglect (Article 19), sexual abuse and exploitation (Article 34), and any other form of exploitation (Article 36).

For more information on the UNCRC click here. Keep an eye out on the YEPS Facebook and Twitter page on #UNCRCMondays for a breakdown of the rights every child has.

In her closing statement, the Children’s Commissioner said that Wales must embrace digital and both adults and children must learn new ways to live with it. She stated that young people will lead the way in this and the goal is to help people become more informed, confident and safe online.

Digital Citizenship

The convention was also about sharing good practice and Kellie Williams, a primary school teacher at Cornist Park school, took to the stage to share how the pupils and staff at the school had embraced digital technology. The school has been selected as a Digital Pioneer School for Wales by the Welsh Government and are extremely proud of the title.

Some of the school’s initiatives include;

  • Bubble time sessions – drop in sessions where pupils can meet with the school’s e-safety team during half term and discuss any issues they have regarding digital matters.
  • Pupil-lead assemblies focusing on relevant digital topics
  • Introduction of an easy-to-understand cyber bullying policy
  • App building
  • Parental engagement – the school welcomes engagement with parents regarding digital matters and they have introduced a ‘digi desk’ on reception during special events such as parents evening, where parents can discuss anything digital with the e-safety team.

The initiatives introduced by the school are educating parents and staff, as well as empowering young people through improving their digital skills and literacy and making them safer online. Kellie was quick to state that these initiatives were driven by the pupils and this supports Dr Sally Holland’s suggestion that children will lead the way in making Wales more informed, confident and safe online.

If you have any thoughts about digital citizenship or would like to share your ideas with the Children’s Commissioner or Kirsty Williams AM, you can contact them through Twitter @childcomwales @wgcs_education or the following websites:
http://www.childcomwales.org.uk or http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetm/kirsty-williams?lang=en

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