WHEN it comes to raising awareness of online safety, schools are turning to the experts – teenagers.
Secondary pupils in Tameside are running sessions for their younger peers in primary schools using the SNNAP (Safer Social Networking Activity Pack) card game – a fun and interactive way to prompt serious discussion about the consequences of sharing personal information and images on social media and online games.
The format – demonstrated by New Charter Academy pupils at Canon Burrrows CE Primary in Ashton on National Safer Internet Day 2017 on Tuesday 7 February - is proving so successful that there are hopes to roll it out borough wide.
Greater Manchester’s It’s Not Okay campaign – the multi-agency initiative for tackling child sexual exploitation (CSE) - has reported that approximately 85% of current CSE cases being investigated in Tameside involve online activity.
As part of wider ongoing work to address this, the team of New Charter Academy Year 10 pupils worked with Tameside Safeguarding Children Board (TSCB) to develop the classroom sessions using the SSNAP card game.
They initially delivered it to groups of Year 7 pupils within their own school. However the peer-on-peer training worked so well that they have now extended the offer to primary schools while other secondary schools, including St Damien’s and Thomas Ashton, are also looking to take up the scheme.
TSCB Quality Assurance Officer Katherine Quinn, who has worked with New Charter on the project, said: “The SSNAP card game is a fun and engaging way for pupils to discuss online threats and learn how to keep safe and it has proven all the more effective and popular with the young people as it has been delivered by their peers – people who they perceive to have more relevant knowledge of social media.”
New Charter Vice-Principal Rachel Gill, who is responsible for Key Stage 3 progress & Student Wellbeing, said: “E-safety is such an important issue for our young people and we are incredibly proud of the commitment and enthusiasm our student team has shown in planning sessions that they feel will really resonate with their peers. They have received fantastic feedback from the pupils.”
Canon Burrows Deputy Headteacher Zoe Case, who has organised a day of activities for Safer Internet Day including theatre performances and workshops and parent workshops, said: “We’re delighted that some of the young people from New Charter Academy’s SNAAP Team have taken the time to come and teach the younger children at Canon Burrows about how to stay safe online. I’m sure the safety messages will be all the more meaningful to our pupils as they are coming from their older peers.”
The SNNAP event is just one of many activities that took place in Tameside and across Greater Manchester to mark Safer Internet Day. Tameside Libraries are also running sessions for parents to help keep their children safe online, with further events coming up on 8 and 16 February. See http://www.tameside.gov.uk/libraries/events/onlinesafety. For further information and guidance on online safety see www.itsnotokay.co.uk