In As­so­ci­a­tion With

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Ezzo stresses. “Then so­ci­ety can deal with it, rather than deny­ing the ex­is­tence of it, or imag­in­ing it is a prob­lem that ex­ists else­where.”

Aware­ness of, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion about, cy­ber safety is some­thing par­ents and schools must tackle to­gether says Alan Wil­liamson, Prin­ci­pal at Kings’ School Al Barsha.

“It is about cre­at­ing that tri­an­gle of trust be­tween the stu­dent, the teach­ers and the par­ents, in terms of learn­ing be­yond the class­room, so that we are all com­mu­ni­cat­ing safe­guard­ing around us­ing it and mak­ing sure stu­dents know the po­ten­tial dan­gers.”

Al­though it is is­sues such as cy­ber bul­ly­ing and abuse that most of­ten make the head­lines when it comes to pro­tect­ing chil­dren on­line, there are other things to con­sider too; things that the av­er­age teenager might not give a sec­ond thought, with­out some ad­vice.

Chil­dren must be aware of their cy­ber foot­prints, ex­plains Alas­dair Light­body, Head of IT at Kings’ Al Barsha.

“It gets par­tic­u­larly per­ti­nent when you are deal­ing with older chil­dren and they are start­ing to ap­ply for uni­ver­sity places and jobs. Po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers and en­rol­ment tu­tors look at so­cial me­dia pro­files. If they see com­ments that are in­ap­pro­pri­ate, for ex­am­ple, that could put the child at a dis­ad­van­tage.”

In this sit­u­a­tion, as with all is­sues sur­round­ing tech­nol­ogy and its safe use, open di­a­logue and build­ing trust is the way for­ward.

Let’s give the fi­nal word to one of those young peo­ple we are try­ing to pro­tect.

Harry is a Year 10 stu­dent at Kings’. He ad­mits that, like all teenagers, he ap­pre­ci­ates his per­sonal space and has agree­ments with his par­ents on how much time he can spend on tech. But he also agrees that hav­ing an adult to go to if is­sues arise, is im­por­tant.

“You can just be closed up with your own prob­lems but you have to let peo­ple help you - be it teach­ers or par­ents - oth­er­wise it [an is­sue on­line] will be­come a big is­sue.”

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