This week we have been using the wonders of technology to run our remote Curriculum Guidance evenings with parents. Via google meet, our Heads of Key Stage have been able to talk to our year group parents and to present talks about the core curriculum and how it is taught. We have made great use of google classroom and meet during our online learning over the last year. We have prepared instruction videos for parents on the use of google classroom should we need to go to home learning again.
Of course, there are many benefits to using digital technology and the internet to support learning, one of which is the increased level of engagement it brings. However, through the internet, children can be exposed to a wider world that isn’t always well monitored and can be dangerous. At Gateway, we operate a firewall designed to protect our students from inappropriate online content. The best protection however, is knowledge, so we have a programme of instruction at the beginning of each academic year where we focus on online safety. This builds each year so that content appropriate to each age group can be taught.
What can parents do at home to support and protect their children? Firstly, check your firewall settings to ensure they are set appropriately for the age of your children. Think about the devices your child uses, mobile phones for example can access the internet via 4G and are not restricted by your internet safeguards. Think about where your children access the internet, can you monitor their usage? A number of common apps such as Facebook and games such as Fortnite are aimed at people much older than primary aged students and are not appropriate for our children. There are many fun videos on Youtube that children enjoy watching but there is also a lot of age inappropriate content. Use of devices before bed or in the bedroom can disrupt sleep patterns and directly impact on learning and wellbeing. While there is no hard and fast rule on the number of hours children need, the sleep council suggests toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep a night; children aged three to six – 10-12 hours and seven-twelve years olds – 10-11 hours.
We all have a duty of care to protect our children and prepare them for the digital world ahead. If you would like to find out more about online safety, a good place to start is the NSPCC website. Of course you will need to use your computer to see it… stay safe!
Mrs S Kemp