“The internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers.” – JK Rowling
Over the past 20 years, the internet has rapidly changed the way we connect with each other. There are so many benefits to ‘going online’ from entertainment to education to business – to just being able to keep in touch with friends and family. This is why we might call the internet a ‘boon’ – a word which means ‘gift’ or ‘blessing’.
But the internet has also been described as being like the ‘wild west’ because it is not easily controlled in terms of the information put on there and the people who can use it – sometimes for their own dangerous ideas or plans. This is why the internet might be called a ‘curse’.
At Highfields, we try to educate our young people in the benefits and risks of the ‘digital age’ through our Character Education agenda. These aims are focused on helping young people make sense of what is ‘real’ and ‘fake’ on the internet – not just information, but online profiles and potential ‘friends’.
Parents can help us greatly with this by showing an interest in their child’s internet use, talking through the benefits and risks with them – and by being ‘calm but cautious’ about what their child is doing online. Here are some resources that may help our parents with this:
- Highfields ‘Staying Safe Online’ Leaflet – www.hip.stockport.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Staying-Safe-Online.pdf
- NSPCC Online Safety Website – www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
- Net Aware – Guide to the Latest Apps – www.net-aware.org.uk
- CEOP – Online Child Protection Agency (run by the police) – www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/