Online Safety Education
Welcome to the SSCT (Safer Schools and Communities Team) education material hub designed to assist professionals to educate children and young people about online safety.
Digital literacy and other online safety programmes
Online safety needs to be taught to children and young people in the content of digital literacy to ensure that they are being taught the skills they need to navigate the world in which they find themselves, and to provide a balanced view of using technology and the internet.
We would recommend that schools use the UKCCIS Education for a Connected World framework document to map their digital literacy programmes.
The framework covers the following areas of online education:
1. Self-image and Identity
2. Online relationships
3. Online reputation
4. Online bullying
5. Managing online information
6. Health, wellbeing and lifestyle
7. Privacy and security
8. Copyright and ownership
The framework document is available here>
SWGfL have developed a free Digital Literacy & Citizenship curriculum together with the US organisation ‘CommonSenseMedia’, which covers all age groups and provides multiple activities in each area of the curriculum.
Up to Year 9, there are five lessons covering one or more of these areas with links to resources; for years 10-13, there are four units each with five modules. For each set of lessons there are also ideas about what opportunities there are to embed the ideas from the lesson across the curriculum, which are available here>
There are also other programmes such as the Childnet Digital Leaders programme and e-Cadets programmes which are peer-led programmes and the ParentZone Digital Schools Membership which are aimed more at staff and parents. Peer-led programmes where older children help to educate younger children are often very practical, realistic and relevant. These are in addition to programmes aimed at bullying for example the Diana award Anti-Bullying Campaign or the Anti-Bullying Alliance All together campaigns.
Online Safety Education
Education for EYFS KS1 should explore the following topics:
- the appropriateness of content that children are viewing and sharing
- who they are in contact with
- the differences between an online ‘friend’ and a real friend.
Education for KS2 children should be similar to KS1 and build on the following topics:
- children should be exploring privacy settings
- what to do if they see or experience unpleasant behaviour or bullying online
- thinking about what the effects of sharing content could be in the future
The biggest risk to children at this age is getting into unpleasant conversations with friends from school and the potential fall-out from this or escalation into bullying.
Education for KS3+ young people is more complex as issues such as:
- peer pressure
- sexual development
- body image
- mental health
- online bullying and grooming
- youth produced sexual imagery
can be more prominent and young people are taking a bigger responsibility for their online activity and many will have mobile phones.
There are numerous resources for education on youth produced sexual imagery (sexting), CSE and other sexual content.
Resources and materials are available that can help with the online safety education for young people with additional needs.