Improve online safety by checking in regularly

David Ling is a primary school teacher at the German-English Phorms Campus Frankfurt City and e-safety officer. His job is to inform staff, children, parents and carers about the challenges of the online world
Author: Thomas Feibel | Illustration: Friederike Schlenz | 2019/1

Digitalisation as a topic has a wide range. How do you impart this?

David Ling: The Phorms Campus Frankfurt City has introduced training for all teachers and teaching assistants on the subject of e-safety. This is a specific term relating to the safeguarding of children when using the internet or new technologies. Our training discusses the possible risks of internet usage for children. In addition, we offer parents and the staff meetings on this subject so that adults can feel more confident in discussing the digital world with their children.

How do you use e-safety in class?

On the one hand, we give clear instructions on certain topics (such as share awareness) but we also explore the topic of e-safety whenever we are using computers in class. We encourage children to speak out whenever they feel uncomfortable online. In this sense, our teaching of e-safety is ongoing and dynamic.

Which skills do students have innately when dealing with new media, and what do they have to learn?

Students are by their nature inquisitive and keen to explore new things. As a result, they will often enjoy exploring new content online. This can have a very positive impact if it concerns a topic that is taught in class. But we also know that students like to take risks. There are times online, however, where a student could put himself/herself in danger and become vulnerable.

Do students feel unsafe on the net?

Students usually want to do the right thing. There are times when they may take a risk online and feel uncomfortable as a result. Examples include viewing inappropriate content or being approached by adults in an unsuitable way online. Often children do not know how to express their worries and concerns that they experience online. Part of our e-safety support is to allow children a space to discuss how they feel online and to have greater confidence in speaking out if something does go wrong.

What would be an e-safety incident? What are the steps to be followed?

An e-safety incident is when a child has become emotionally or physically vulnerable as a direct result of online activity. Examples of emotional vulnerability include online bullying or, in extreme cases, sexual harassment. In the event of a disclosure by a child or observation by an adult in the school, the e-safety officer can be approached and action taken. The measures taken depend on the severity of the incident. If necessary, the head of primary school, parents or even the police could be involved.

How can you help children surf the web safely?

The best and only way to truly tackle e-safety is through regular engagement and discussion with the children that we teach.

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During a shopping trip, author, editor and former blogger Katja Reim learned an important lesson from her daughter about protecting her privacy in public. She wrote it all down in her blog ‘Mein Computerkind’
Author: Katja Reim | Illustration: Friederike Schlenz | Photo: Nina Rücker