Childnet, a UK based charity that focuses on children and family safety and empowerment in the digital age, is launching an internet safety initiative for secondary schools.
The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme 2015, which will begin at the start of the new academic year, intends to give children important responsibility in transforming e-safety in secondary schools and create an online portal for peer educators across the UK to share advice and expertise.
School inspectors have identified the role that active involvement and leadership from pupils play in delivering outstanding e-safety, but that this is often overlooked in the UK education system.
The scheme is being supported by Facebook and the European Union, and is aiming to allow young people to engage with large technology firms to have a role in determining the future of technology.
Childnet chief executive Will Gardner said: “We’re excited to be launching a new youth programme, which will help transform your school’s approach to e-safety, putting young people at the heart of the solution.
“We have been piloting this programme over the last year, with support from Facebook, and the impact of the programme is clear – from safer online behaviours of pupils to improved e-safety policies and wider.”
The programme piloted last year, and during this phase 70% of pupils who took part in at least one session from their school’s digital leaders said they would take greater care online.
Mhairi Hill, the E-Safety Coordinator at Ballyclare High School, one of the schools involved in the pilot and the first school in Northern Ireland to achieve the E-Safety Mark, said: “Pupil voice has been a powerful tool in shaping our set of e-safety-related policies, and has helped to create an ethos of positive technology use in school.”