#Esafety – students who over share information #safeguarding

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It was just a joke Miss. I wouldn’t actually meet them. I was just bored and with my mates and it was really funny. I wasn’t really thinking. I didn’t mean it.

I am sure teachers could come up with more comments that students have told us when they have done something silly online. But why do they behave in such a self destructive manner, no matter how many times we have covered it in pshe. They seem to think that they are invincible. Perhaps they think nothing bad actually happens. Have we shielded and protected them so much that they struggle to see real dangers?

I have always believed that we should teach pupils basic decision skills to enable them to do a risk assessment and discussed ideas of right and wrongs, so that they could transfer these skills to almost any situation. And in most situations this approach seems to have worked. However the Internet has been the anomaly. Pupils manage to remove logic and reason and forget any life lessons they may have picked up on the way. For example this week two intelligent students admitted to me that they have signed up to a “sugar daddy web site”. A site that matches older men to young girls. Although it doesn’t say so on the site, it is encouraging teenager girls to sign up, claiming it’s a good source of income for the girls and could help them save money for university. What were they thinking? I hear you all cry. Well not much is the answer. They thought it was funny. Harmless fun. When asked if they would ever met up with the men I was quickly met with a disgusted look. So I asked “How about skyping? ” they didn’t answer me as quickly. When I explain how quickly a harmless text can turn into a phone call, a Skype conversation, photographs and then videos, they went quiet. It seems they need examples of how it has happened, for it to actually hit home.

I often get guest speakers in to talk to the students. Most e safety speakers I have had in are male and some have been police officers investigating cases but I have never had someone who has made mistakes and come through the other side. They would send a great message. Part of the problem must be their oversharing role models. People like Kim Kardashian West, who this week posted images of her doing a pregnancy test in an airplane and stated at an award show, that she was going to do “nude selfies every day”. There didn’t seem to be any negative consequences to Kim doing this however we know if one of our students did a nude selfie once, it could effect him/ her forever.

Adults don’t get it, as my students often tell me, but we are often the ones helping clear up the mess afterwards. Perhaps the only way to learn is if they fall a little so they can pick themselves up, but the drop seem mighty high ( and permanent ) when the Internet is involved.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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