WHEN it comes to raising awareness of online safety, child safeguarding leads are involving the real experts – teenagers.
Year 10 and 11 school pupils will be delivering an online safety training session to parents attending a ‘Surviving Teenagers’ course as part of the launch of the Greater Manchester Its Not Okay Week of Action.
The multi-agency It’s Not Okay campaign aims to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and the ‘Keep switched on’ week of action running from 18 to 24 June will be reminding parents and carers to be vigilant of their children’s safety at all times – even when they are apparently “safe” in their bedrooms.
Children can be at risk of sexual exploitation anywhere and at any time – be it when they are out and about with their friends and at activities or when they online on their phones and game consoles. It is estimated about 85 per cent of Child Sexual Exploitation cases in Tameside involve online activity.
The SSNAP team from Great Academy Ashton – a group of pupils who have worked with Tameside Safeguarding Children’s Board to deliver online safety skills to their peers– will be delivering a session to parents at Greenside Children’s Centre, Droylsden, on Monday 18 June as one in a number of awareness raising activities taking part in the borough during the week.
SNNAP (Safer Social Networking Activity Pack) is a resource that uses a card game to prompt thought and discussion about the consequences of sharing certain types of information and interactions on social media and encourages young people to think for themselves about how they can stay safe.
Parents and carers are encouraged to regularly update the security settings on their children’s phones and online devices while keeping conversations ongoing about who their children are spending time with online – just as they would if they were going out. They are also urged to check the safeguarding procedures at any clubs and groups their children attend.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families Cllr Oliver Ryan said: “Young people spend the majority of their time online now and it is just as important for parents and carers to take steps to keep their children safe online just as they would if they were going out. I’m delighted that Tameside is helping to take the lead in highlighting the It’s Not Okay campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation across Greater Manchester.”
Chair of Tameside Safeguarding Board Gill Frame said: “The SNNAP programme has proven really effective in supporting young people to share online safety tips with their peers. Special thanks to the SNNAP team from Great Academy Ashton for sharing their valuable insight into online safety with parents and carers. I hope this unique switch in roles will help raise awareness of the wider It’s Not Okay message and highlight important safety tips.”
For further information on protecting children from Child Sexual Exploitation and how to seek support or report concerns see www.itsnotokay.co.uk #itsnotokay
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