There is no formal definition of e-safety; a quick Google search will return many results with individual opinions. Essentially e-safety is about the education of young people to enjoy the safe use of technology.
But there are some important principles:
- e-safety is about educating and empowering children and young people to enjoy the safe use of digital technologies.
- e-safety is about raising the awareness of risks and issues with adults so that they can talk to their children or students.
- e-safety includes the governance and liabilities within any establishment that has a responsibility for children, i.e. a school, youth centre, children’s home etc.
- e-safety is not about computers or technology – it is about Safeguarding. This is the most important principle to remember.
Educating and empowering:
In the same way we teach our children how to cross the road safely and how to swim, it is imperative that we also teach children how to stay safe online. It is not sufficient to show the children a video or two and expect this to suffice; e-safety is partly about empowering the children; most importantly we should teach this as a life skill. The earlier children understand this life skill the more beneficial it will be.
Raising the awareness:
Would you teach your child to drive if you can’t drive yourself? The same is true of e-safety. Everybody must understand this life skill; this includes all staff, voluteers, governing bodies and parents/guardians. In order to empower others and to be able to risk assess for yourself, you also need to have a good understanding of the risks and dangers.
Governance and liabilities:
In order for your organisation to be “e-safety compliant”, the governance model must be correct. This includes the liabilities to the organisation should an incident occur that the organisation has not foreseen. Governance includes such items as: e-safety policy; acceptable use policy (sometimes the two are combined); anti-bullying policy; behaviour management policy; disciplinary policy.
e-Safety is not about ICT – it is about safeguarding
Learning to drive is not about knowing the internal workings of a combustion engine; the same is true of e-safety. Many shy away from e-safety thinking that they don’t have the technical knowledge to understand it. Technology is not the problem (although arguably it is an enabler). Technology does not cause problems; behaviour, risk taking and lack of awareness cause problems. e-Safety is about safeguarding the child.
If you’d like to know more, please check out our online e-Safety training course.