Empowering children to take control of their online lives


Free internet safety resource for pupils in Key Stage 2.

  • Has received accreditation for use in PSHE lessons.
  • Curriculum is supported by an interactive assembly and online game.

ACTION

Parent Zone's new internet safety curriculum for Key Stage 2 pupils has been designed to boost digital resilience and help them keep control of their online lives.

Be Internet Legends is one of a number of educational resources distributed by the social enterprise and the first of its kind to be accredited for use in personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

The project has been developed in partnership with tech giant Google which is funding the rollout of the free curriculum packs to schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Since its launch in March 2018, Parent Zone's training team have been visiting primary schools to deliver an interactive assembly explaining how to use the resource.

Megan Rose, Parent Zone's head of partnerships, says its primary audience is teachers and professionals that support families but work is also done directly with pupils.

"We have a number of projects that we do with different organisations such as the Home Office, Vodafone, Google and Unilever which help pupils and parents competently navigate the online world and all the challenges that it brings," she adds.

Rose says the findings of an annual survey of teachers were instrumental in creating the Be Internet Legends resource.

"The overwhelming majority of teachers didn't feel supported or that they had adequate resources to be able to teach children about all the issues that arise from the digital world," she explains.

The curriculum pack, which includes lesson plans and a scheme of work, is supported by Interland, in interactive game developed by Google for pupils to play at school and home.

The game ties in with the resource's five pillars - to be sharp, alert, secure, kind and brave - with players invited to explore areas such as the "Kind Kingdom" and "Reality River".

Rose says each topic has a "robust set of lesson plans" and explores particular areas within each pillar.

"Being internet sharp means being able to recognise fake news, phishing scams and empowering children to identify certain aspects they might see online or to determine there is something they can't trust," she explains.

Teachers are encouraged to use lesson plans to fit with the needs of their pupils and to help address any issues they might be experiencing using the internet or social media.

"A teacher might say they've had an issue with a particular WhatsApp group and they can turn to Be Internet Legends as a resource and talk about those issues with their children in an age-appropriate way," says Rose.

The curriculum is aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils aged between seven and 11 with some lesson plans specifically written for younger children (Years 3 and 4) and the rest for older pupils (Years 5 and 6).

Rose says the resource reflects Parent Zone's ethos that the internet or technology in general should not be demonised for young audiences.

"Children should have free rein over the internet and their use of technology but crucially they should be informed about how to do that in the best way and remain in control of their online lives," she explains.

Boosting a child's "digital resilience" is a key outcome, she adds. "It's about being able to know what tools are available; issues such as reporting or blocking as well as being able to recover from any worrying or difficult experiences young people may have had online," says Rose.

IMPACT

Parent Zone says it has distributed more than 20,000 curriculum packs to primary schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the past year.

In addition, its training team carry out around 30 school assemblies each week and more teacher workshops are planned in 2019.

"It's still early days really as it's not even been a full year but the impact we've had in that time has been significant and we want to engage with more teachers face to face," says Rose.

Regular surveys sent to schools that have ordered the curriculum pack have been used to gather information on how the resource is being used and by how many pupils.

She says the project is "continually evolving" with plans to expand the curriculum to include topics such as mental health and digital wellbeing.

Read more from the E-Safety Special Report

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