e-safety and digital literacy ideas and tips

Person using a laptop with the text 'Of those young people that use social network sites, just over a third have made friends with people online that they did not know before.'We asked a range of experts involved in e-safety and digital literacy to give their tips about what they feel it’s important for teachers to consider.

Read what they suggested below. And tell us what do you think. Join the discussion #bcseducation

Simon Finch, online safety officer, Digitally Confident

  • Demonstrate to children and young people how and when to give out your personal information online and explain the benefits.
  • Ensure that every child has a range of trusted adults to turn to if they find themselves in trouble online. It doesn’t have to be a parent or teacher. In fact, as parents, we’re often the last to find out, because online safety issues can bring about feelings of shame.
  • Understand that children and young people are often actively involved in an online community of friends and it is ‘the real world.

Read Simon’s article: Shaping the digital citizens of the future

Emma Robertson, co-founder, Digital Awareness UK

  • As a school, try to be proactive rather than reactive. Take a step back and consider the e-safety vision for the coming year.
  • Make sure your school’s e-safety policy is written in plain English and used in dedicated Continuing Professional Development sessions - it helps teachers to understand the issues.
  • No school can be too prepared when it comes to an e-safety crisis. It’s not enough to simply pass it on to the Safeguarding officer.

Read Emma’s article: Selfies and self-esteem: whose responsibility?

Laura Pearce, Head of ICT, Computing and eStrategy, St Luke’s

  • Teachers should have their own social media privacy settings locked down and understand how to use them.
  • Students must be aware of the implications of what they post online and how they’ll be perceived by a post.
  • Be aware of your online reputation. If someone googles your name, what will they see?

Read Laura’s article: Building a good online reputation

Matt Hunt, Assistant Head Teacher KS4, Wyvern College

  • Educate on digital literacy little and often. What you do every day has more impact than what you do every three months.
  • Encourage people to have a go and not to be afraid to log on and explore. The computer won’t explode! If you’re stuck, ask.
  • The internet can be a wonderful resource. We tell all our students that if they are in doubt about any of the content, then they must tell a responsible adult.

Read Matt’s article: Digital Literacy a drip drip strategy

Yvonne Walker, National Hub Coordinator for Computing At School

  • Good leadership around e-safety is essential. Governors and the school leadership team need to make it a priority.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Policies on behaviour, safeguarding and substance misuse all relate to e-safety. These can be a good place to start when writing your e-safety policy.
  • Everyone is responsible for e-safety. Not just the member of staff appointed to take the lead.
  • Embed e-safety across the whole curriculum. Make e-safety a topic that can be taught in any subject whether that’s an essay in English, an e-safety poster in art and or coding in computing.

Zoe Ross, CPD coordinator for the Computing at Schools Network of Excellence

  • Don’t make a crisis out of a blip. Appreciate that children and young people do make mistakes and it’s part of the process of becoming digitally literate. Deal with incidents appropriately and calmly.
  • A school’s overall behaviour culture has a huge effect on e-safety. If behaviour is positive then it is usually far easier to be effective in e-safety.
  • Involve students in drafting your e-safety rules. Using the right language and tone means they’ll be more persuasive and effective.
  • Walk the talk, don’t just write the policy. A good e-safety policy is important but no use if you don’t ensure everyone is aware of it and implementing it.
  • Keep staff up to date. Technology changes fast, so run regular training sessions for staff and ensure they model good e-safety behaviour.