The internet has become an incredibly helpful tool for everyone over the last eight months. Not only has it given us a way of keeping in touch with friends and loved ones, but it has allowed us to work from home. For example, we have been able to have virtual meetings rather than in person. Importantly, it has meant that education and learning can continue. In short, the internet has helped us all to keep safe. However, as we keep ourselves physically safe, are we opening ourselves up to the dangers of the internet?
The statistics can be quite alarming. A survey by Ofcom reports that 74% of children have a social media profile. Worryingly, just under half of them have no privacy settings. Furthermore, a Google report claims that the number one safeguarding concern teachers have in their classroom room is cyberbullying. Two in five parents are concerned about their child getting bullied on their phone (Ofcom). Police crime figures for 2019 show that an average of 90 cybercrimes against children is reported every day in the UK.
Making e-safety a priority at tpm
tpm’s leaders prioritise safeguarding. They are critically aware of the responsibility to safeguard young people and provide effective safeguarding arrangements and guidance for staff, learners, employers and stakeholders. tpm links with the local children’s safeguarding board and other organisations that focus on ensuring learners’ safety. One of the seven elements of tpm’s safeguarding policy is ensuring that personal and e-safety is communicated and prioritised. tpm prefers to work with learners to ensure they can use ICT safely, rather than just preventing them from using it. This means learners learn how to use technology for learning in a safe and informed manner. A strong emphasis is on making sure learners understand and practice responsible use of the internet and information communication technology.
Support and Guidance
As part of their induction process, all learners go through the ICT policy with their trainer. The policy covers cyberbullying, harassment, sexting and extremism. In addition, all learners receive online safety guidance to help them recognise and avoid online dangers. During lockdown periods, tpm bolstered the digital citizen training programme further with the introduction of Digital Safety During Covid-19. Furthermore, learners know how to report any related concerns and issues to trained staff. All staff have undergone thorough CPD training in safeguarding and e-safety. Moreover, there are dedicated safeguarding officers who are always available to help and advise any learner with issues or concerns. Additionally, learners have 24/7 access to CEOP resources.
Accessing Support from CEOP
CEOP stands for ‘Child Exploitation and Online Protection’. It is a law enforcement agency aiming to keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online. tpm’s website has a CEOP button at the foot of every page, which can be used by anyone visiting the site. The button is a convenient and straightforward way to gain access to trusted online safety advice, help and support. It also provides access to an online mechanism for reporting known or suspected child sexual exploitation or child sexual abuse directly to CEOP. This is potentially a less intimidating method of reporting these sensitive types of crime. CEOP also offers an education programme called ThinkUKnow, which tpm’s teachers are trained in and have been delivering to learners.
Think U Know?
Throughout November and December tpm staff are delivering a range of assemblies and workshops designed by ThinkUKnow. ThinkUKnow is the education programme from CEOP, helping children and young adults to stay safe on their phone, tablets and computers. There will be a variety of topics covered including;
- Working and learning from home safely
- Staying safe when communicating and socialising
- The dangers of sharing images and information
- Support services available for issues such as relationships and sex
- Recognising healthy and unhealthy online relationships
If you would like to find out more about CEOP and their education programme you can follow the links below or speak to a member of staff.