Safer Internet Day
It has been an important week for technology. Tuesday was Safer Internet Day – A day designed to help inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The day links well to our recent Be Internet Citizens Google day. However, internet safety is not just something we should focus on for one day; it should be of constant interest to us all. The national website for this event contains some useful resources for parents to engage in:
A big part of using technology is how we manage our time and how we prevent it from controlling us. As a father I struggle with getting the right balance between healthy and unhealthy use of technology and I always welcome fresh advice about keeping safe, both mentally and from harm. As a school that promotes technology it can sometimes seem strange to learners when we actively encourage them away from a screen. Some key advice includes:
 not using phones and mobile devices at the dinner table – talking as a family is very important for development
 keeping screens out of the bedroom at bedtime
 talking as a family about keeping safe online and about cyber-bulling and what children should do if they are worried
 not using phones when crossing a road or doing any other activity that requires a person’s full attention
 making sure children take a break from screens every two hours by getting up and being active
 policing their own use too – parents should give their children proper attention and quality family time and never assume they are happy for pictures to be shared
It is worth reflecting on the impact our use of technology can have – adults as well as children. As a school that embraces technology it has always been our belief that educating about the risks is better than just taking action that can drive the behaviour associated with such risks underground and I would recommend that parents engage in the conversation.
There was a lot of action from teachers on Twitter this week to recognize safer internet day. Most of them simply post a tweet and ask for it to be retweeted so that they can show their learners how it can get round the world. One post I came across was a bit different. A teacher collected in all of the phones from her class at the start of the lesson and then at the end they all tallied up how many notifications the class had collectively received during the lesson. The results:
With distractions like that bombarding us every day (I couldn’t believe the class received 506 text messages) is it any wonder that it is hard to concentrate? If ever there is a time for us all to work together to keep our children safe in the use of technology, it is now. I am so glad that we were able to successfully implement our no phones rule this year; it really has helped to combat this sort of distraction. I would like to thank you all for your continuing support with this.
Have a nice weekend and a peaceful half term.

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