Pupils join Hawarden firm’s pioneering scheme to stay safe online
Pupils at a North Wales high school have become the latest to join a Hawarden firm’s pioneering scheme to keep youngsters safe online.
The eCadets programme gets children and teenagers working together to advise friends and family on how to protect themselves in the virtual world.
The award-winning scheme was the brainchild of former police officer Henry Platten and his wife Danielle. They already run successful Flintshire-based company eTreble9, which advises companies and individuals about online security.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan is the first secondary school in Conwy County Borough to sign up to the eCadets scheme.
[pullquote cite=”eCadets founder Henry Platten” type=”right”]“Our approach is very much not to frighten children about the internet, not to scare them, just to show them how to use it safely to give them that confidence,[/pullquote]
The eCadets also take the safety messages home by making parents and other family members aware of the increasing need for online safety, whether ensuring passwords are secure or discussing the pitfalls of making friends on the internet.
“We know children often find it difficult to talk openly to parents or teachers about issues like digital safety or cyber bullying, but they are much more comfortable turning to their friends and peers for advice.
“We are there in the background to provide support and advice, providing a safety net should something come to light that needs adult intervention.
“As well as keeping youngsters safe, the eCadet scheme has been designed to help schools meet targets in relation to online safety, health and well-being, literacy and numeracy and personal development.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan eCadet Charlotte Booth, 13, of Kinmel Bay said:
“It’s a good scheme and a great way of helping other students by giving advice on things like cyber bullying and the information people give out in their profile on social media sites.
“It’s important to keep safe. Being an eCadet is also helping me when it comes to learning more about computers. I’m considering looking for a job in IT when I leave school.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan’s head of IT Karen Khan said:
“Pupils study e-safety as part of the national curriculum during Key Stage 3 – that includes devices such as mobile phones, social networking and on-line gaming.
“The eCadet scheme is a brilliant idea. It’s good to get children involved and helping each other. Very often youngsters spot trends far faster that teachers do. And during classroom discussions it’s clear learners are more aware of new applications and technologies – they almost teach me!
“But we have to keep children safe. I do believe they will listen to their peers far more readily than they will teachers or parents.”
“I also think it’s important we encourage learners to use the internet and the technology that’s available has so many positive uses. But they need to understand what they put on social media sites stays out there.
“And they have to know how to keep themselves safe. I think they can do that by learning from and through each other.”
The eCadet initiative links to the computing curriculum, meets the needs of inspections by schools watchdog Estyn, and is closely related to PHSE and well-being requirements.
Henry quit his job with Cheshire Police to launch eTreble9, which helps businesses and individuals protect their assets online – and eCadets was a spin-off, as the couple realised that youngsters also needed to be kept just as safe.
“Our approach is very much not to frighten children about the internet, not to scare them, just to show them how to use it safely to give them that confidence, to give them those skills to be digital citizens, and really to live their lives safely online so that they get the most from it.
“We think this scheme, which has won several awards including the prestigious Nominet Award for ‘Making the Internet a Safer Place’ and is shortlisted for the Internet Service Provider Association eSafety Award on 2 July, is vital because so many children now use the internet and social media sites and they must be able to do it as safely as possible.
“Through the scheme, which is for children aged 3 to 18, they learn new skills about staying safe and get to help their friends and parents as well. For pupils at Emrys ap Iwan they’ll learn about digital employability, anti-bullying and online safety. Learners are able to safely connect with pupils of the same age at other schools to discuss issues or highlight any unsafe trends.”
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