💻Safer Internet Day is here!💻(freebie at the end!)
Updated: Aug 2
OK, so Safer Internet Day is not as exciting as Christmas (and far less sparkly) but it is an important date in the calendar.
Why? Well, the internet is everywhere - even some fridges have access to the web these days. In the time I've been teaching, computing and the internet has changed vastly. As an educational practitioner, I've had to attempt to keep up with the accelerating pace of technology.
It's becoming clear that I am not able to keep on top of every new app, platform or trend that young people may come across. Often, apps disappear for a while and pop back up with a new name or logo. It's like a much less fun version of 'Whack-A-Mole'.
So how do we keep our young people safe?
Safer Internet Day is a start. It's not a day telling young people NOT to go online or that the online world is a super scary place. It's a day to empower children. Empower them to make the right decisions, ask questions and become positive digital citizens. You may not like the way the world relies on technology but for some young people, that is all they have ever known.
I like to write poems and stories that can help with that empowerment of young people. Whether we like it or not, they will at some point come across something challenging online - be it something they have seen, something they witnessed or even done themselves - the keyboard is a powerful disguise (hey - that sounds like a good title to a poem!) Lectures rarely get the message across so I use stories and poems to engage in positive conversations about online life.
Whilst I can not offer you chocolate or a pair of socks as a gift on this day, I can offer you a poem to help young people choose to stand up for people who are themselves not able to.
The poem is called "Be an Upstander, not a Bystander" and it's about a boy named Alan. Alan becomes the target in group chats by a classmate. The poet does nothing - even joins in sometimes because it's just a laugh... right? By the end of the poem (spoiler alert!) the poet realises they have been just as bad as the perpetrator but it's a bit too late - Alan has moved away.
You can download the PDF of the poem (2 pages) at the end of this blog post or if you'd like my cheesy voice, then there is also a video on my YouTube channel.
Are there any Online Safety topics you would like some poems or stories for? Give me a shout!