Kingston Diary - Digital Wellbeing
At KGS we are taking action to educate our students about Digital Resilience. As digital natives our children are steeped in the online culture. We want them to have a positive relationship with technology, it is a constituent of the modern citizen and participation is essential.
Last week at KGS we opened our doors to prospective parents at both our 11+ Information Evening and our KGS Open Day on Saturday. Our KGS students were admirable ambassadors for our school and it is always so gratifying to see them proudly extolling our virtues, happy to be in school even on a Saturday! In exchange for their assistance on Saturday our students were allowed the Friday off lessons and we hope they enjoyed that liberty while our staff took part in an INSET Day.
Part of our INSET training on Friday was dedicated to the safeguarding and welfare of our KGS students. Pastoral care is an integral part of our life here at KGS and one area of care is ensuring that our students are continually educated in the importance of Digital Wellbeing. For the vast majority of us, technology is now an all-pervasive component of our everyday lives and abstinence is all but impossible if we are to live effectively in contemporary society. Therefore, we must ensure that our children develop some digital resilience so that they can enjoy the benefit of life online whilst staying safe. In our day to day life we are bombarded with warnings about potential risks: the inclusion of nuts in a cereal bar, side effects of medicines, medicine. If there is water on the floor a sign will be placed to warn us about a slippery surface; drink less alcohol; drink more water. In our highly risk averse society, emblazoned with alerts and alarms, I am astonished that there are not more evident warnings to protect children from harm on the internet. Three and a half billion people use the internet on a daily basis. A third of these users are under eighteens who, at times, do not recognise the potential harm they are being exposed to. One can contend that the rights and needs of our young people are not being fully protected, that our children are being passively observed as guinea pigs in a social experiment.
Recently there has been some evidence of the beginning of a sea change, we are starting to act: you may have read that social media sites are now revisiting their terms and conditions to make sure that they are ‘child friendly’ in order to better ensure that children can fully understand what they are signing up to. As parents we can try to set reasonable and realistic boundaries, monitoring activity and developing trusts to enable more independent levels of exploration for our children. Whilst this sounds like a simple rationale, it is not always easy to achieve. At KGS we want to help: we offer assistance and education for parents to support your role with our children. On Monday 9th October KGS are hosting a PSA Advice Evening on Digital Wellbeing with a special guest speaker: Emma Robertson is the co-founder of Digital Awareness UK who has been keenly campaigning in the media, schools and in Parliament in order to help young people online. We would like to offer you our invitation to attend this evening and also the option to please take a look at the work of Digital Awareness UK. As parents and teachers dedicated to looking after our children, we can all work together to keep them safe whilst enjoying the amazing world of the Internet.