Why on earth is the message in the poster below so important to get across – not just to teens but to really young children? Read on (or watch this) to find out…
The online-safety messages of the past decade have meant that parents and professionals are now often aware of issues around teens being coerced or tricked into getting undressed or revealing themselves online (or doing so consensually as part of sexting).
However, there has been a lot less said about what needs to be said to the youngest pupils and why. We really want to get schools and parents on board to spread the message of this poster to the very youngest primary pupils.
You can read more details on page 22 onwards in our Hopes & Streams report, or watch this short short video, but here are some of the key points at a glance:
Law enforcement agencies such as NCA CEOP (National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection) have warned over the past few years of sexual predators tricking young children into getting changed or undressed on camera by playing a ‘game’ or issuing a ‘challenge’ to see how fast they can get changed into different clothes or into a swimming costume. This might happen over video chat or livestreaming apps.
That’s why we asked the 40,000 children taking part in our pupil online safety survey if they had been asked to change or undress when using these apps and sites (read the survey report here). We found that:
Nearly 1 in 10 pupils who video chat with people they haven’t met have been asked to change or undress
More than 1 in 20 pupils who livestream have been asked to change or undress
Internet Watch Foundation research has shown that 98% of publicly available livestreamed child sexual abuse images involved children aged 13 and under; 28% were aged 10 and under!
If you are still unconvinced, read these case studies (also IWF) of real children affected by this abuse strategy (the youngest was 7 years old but even younger children can be affected.
That’s why we would love you to share this poster, put it up in your school and ask teachers and parents to add this simple message to the others already being communicated effectively to many primary pupils. You may want to explain to parents (send them here to undressed.lgfl.net if it is helpful) why this message is relevant to (especially) the youngest pupils who do not have the same mental capacity as older children to always realise when they are being tricked.
You will obviously need to be careful how you approach it (and if you aren’t the designated safeguarding lead, speak to them first), but if the youngest children have already internalised this simple message, then hopefully we make a difference.
Teachers, note that there is a new livestreaming CPD training resource for your DSL to present to all staff at safecpd.lgfl.net page (also new there: self-harm bullying).
…and boy, did we learn a lot. For the full report, video overview, or to read about a specific theme, head to pupilsurvey.lgfl.net. Meanwhile here on SafeBlog, we are starting a series of posts on themes from the survey.
Mental health / self-harm and livestreaming were major themes, and there was plenty to learn about violent and sexual content and sharing, online pornography, friendships, bullying, and who children want to talk to for advice). Just to be clear, there were many positives – it’s not all doom and gloom.
But in this first post, we thought it would be useful to skip to the end and reproduce our recommendation for schools’ next steps. Hopefully they will inspire you to want to go back and read the report to find out more and why we say. This is a list from the conclusion section of the report:
You told us parents are key, and the survey confirmed this, so drive parental engagement with a focus on this key statistic: 73% of pupils trust their parents on online safety (but only half talk about it with them more than once a year). Make this the basis for all work with parents in this area – it is worthwhile
Use the resources and lesson ideas linked to each thematic section of the report – there are plenty of direct links, or use the filters at saferesources.lgfl.net to shape teaching & learning and support staff and parents
Use the quotes and statistics dotted throughout this report as discussion starters in class and in staff inset –taking just one quote and statistic from a specific section will give you plenty of potential for a valuable discussion
Remember the distress caused by violent videos, especially towards animals, which is an area that adults often do not identify
Investigate the role of peer programmes for pupils to support each other – ‘telling a friend’ was the second favourite option for talking about the worst things that happen online
Consider predator behaviour (and talk to parents about why it matters for the youngest children) regarding coercing children to change clothes on camera – remember our statistics show how this affects the very youngest children
Focus on behaviours rather than lists of ‘bad apps’ – predators hop around apps, so scare stories just lead to a false sense of security
Discuss latest screen time concerns with parents and share sensible advice on balancing activities rather than limiting time
Address technology addiction by asking pupils what they think about the nearly 1 in 3 who admitted finding it hard to stop using devices to have a break
Refresh teacher, parent and pupil awareness of helplines for advice and support
Incorporate real-life examples from normal adult life into online safety education – admit that we can get it wrong too
Make sure the youngest pupils know they should talk to a trusted adult about anything that gives them ‘a funny feeling inside’
Provide staff refreshers on key documents such as Keeping Children Safe in Education and the UKCCIS Sexting Guidance
View and share materials on understanding the motives for self-harm in the mental health section, considering how to talk about the issues without ‘giving ideas’
There were recommendations for government and industry too, and of course for us – what do we plan do do as a result of this survey. Head to pupilsurvey.lgfl.net and read the report to find out more. Next blog – mental health and self-harm bullying.