Online safety for children can often be a tricky subject to tackle – where do you even begin? How do you make engaging content so kids stay focused as they learn? What sensitive subjects surrounding online safety do you even tackle? The answers to these questions are not straight-forward, but a recent educational package may offer some guidance.
Technology companies such as Google are at the forefront of shaping what we, and our children, see online – in fact a lot of what we look at on the internet can be vastly changed by a minute change in their algorithm. Being the biggest and most popular search engine on the planet affords many perks, but, with great power comes great responsibility. Not least of all, is the exposure to the vast online world that children can so readily access using their platform.
So, how are they helping us teach the generation of tomorrow, to be safer online?
Well, their latest initiative calls on all youngsters to Be Internet Legends. This educational package masquerades as an interactive game, allowing players – or Internauts - to explore Interland. Whilst exploring the four different Interland islands, players must stick to the Internet Legends Code. These five cornerstones of online etiquette aim to create a safer and more accepting community of internet users. Users who are able to spot malicious threats, report bad behaviour and be smart to online dangers. Each cornerstone has a separate mini-game, tackling individual aspects of online safety in an engaging and fun way.
A very important part of internet safety though, is recognising that it’s difficult to get right every time, and ensuring kids feel able to discuss things with an appropriate adult is paramount. Whether it’s a teacher or parent, at home or in the classroom, a child must know they’re free to discuss worries or concerns which are met with openness and honesty.
As may be apparent, here at Studysafe we can’t stress enough the importance of a holistic approach to online safety, and education is the most important factor. The resources offered through this scheme are a great starting block for any teacher or parent, to begin the ever-evolving process of staying safe online. Even if schools don’t have enough time, something as small as a parent printing out the “Legends Code” and signing it together, can make a difference to a child’s approach and attitude towards online safety.
In order to create the best possible footing for our kids to explore the wonderful resources available to them online, it must be a combined effort. The combined efforts of teachers – who are Reality Legends in their own right, parents at home, and internet filtering systems like Studysafe. Through doing so, we ensure the generation of tomorrow are; well-prepared to tackle the increasingly digitised world, savvy to online threats and respectful of one another when interacting.
By making our children increasingly internet-wise, our software can simply act as a safety net for catching malicious or deceptive content. As kids become increasingly internet confident, the instances of them stumbling across inappropriate content will only decrease; whether it be spotting a deceptive website, avoiding a conversation with a stranger online, or simply keeping information to themselves. Of course though, Studysafe will always be there whilst they build up their knowledge, and to keep them safe long after they’ve become Internet Legends.
Until then, Studysafe will continue to aid teachers and schools with safeguarding measures, all through our user-friendly dashboard. Combining the numerous monitoring options available through our system, users have the ability to track how often something is filtered or blocked. Combining this tool with an online-safety educational element, means users have the option to track how receptive their children have been to the training. Once training had been carried out, the amount of sites being blocked would be expected to decrease.
When looking to the future, it can only be assumed that technology will continue to rapidly advance. Along with it, the dangers online will grow and become more sophisticated, but so will web-filtering systems. Who knows, perhaps in the future Studysafe will be an upgrade available for your Google Augmented Reality Contact Lens, which will filter content directly from the cornea. Whilst we wait for this Orwellian vision of the future, we can only work with what we have in the present – education and web-filtering software. We’ll save the augmented reality version of Studysafe for a later date…