For the second e-safety lesson, I ask the children to produce a leaflet describing some of the online hazards/dangerous situations discussed in the previous lesson and how to safely respond to them.
We begin though with a quick recap/discussion on what they learnt by doing the quiz-quiz-trade game at the end of the previous lesson, since this introduced a range of strategies to them for staying safe online:
- the importance of checking email attachments are safe to open (e.g. by confirming with the sender or using an anti-virus program like the free Microsoft Security Essentials);
- the need to just delete any spam messages as they are likely going to be unwanted adverts or messages asking you for personal information to claim a prize you've apparently won (which likely won't exist and your details will be used for fraudulent reasons/to send more spam instead);
- to never agree to meet up with strangers you've only met online in case they aren't who they say they are and you are put in a vulnerable position;
- to always report incidents of cyber-bullying immediately to a trusted adult, keeping the received messages as proof/evidence and not responding to the bully with a nasty comment back (which makes you as bad as them).
After this, I then ask them to spend 10 minutes planning their e-safety leaflet out on paper, with reference to my: good, great and super expectations:
The idea behind this being that they can: see the layout of where things can go on the page (especially as it contains folded elements), try out alternative designs and check that they are including all the required information before they start on the computers.
Next, I then give them a brief demonstration of how to create this leaflet using ICT on PowerPoint. I know that there are alternative applications about but since this is one that they are extremely familiar with and the focus is on understanding e-safety rules (not desktop publishing skills), I feel that it is the most appropriate for the task. You can download the backgrounds I provide them with here (these illustrate how each slide is divided up into three folds).
I spread the leaflet creating task out over two lessons to give them enough time to create a good quality piece of work for printing out. During the second lesson, I even do a quick 'two stars and a wish' peer-assessment activity to get them to evaluate somebody else's work so far and give them suggestions of ways it could be improved (the idea being that they then have the time to make any necessary amendments).
The important thing to stress whilst they are creating the leaflet is that it's going to be printed out - thus meaning slide transitions, animation effects etc. aren't needed. Since there is little way to extend this work (as by its nature you are limited by space), I allow the more confident children who finish the opportunity to explore the fabulous Cyber Cafe website from CEOP which has been specifically designed to help them learn how to keep safe when using different types of technologies, reinforcing all the things we've just covered in a more interactive way. It is split up into various sections, with each one containing an activity where they must make the right decisions about how to deal with potentially risky/dangerous/upsetting situations (e.g. cyber-bullying through mobile text messages) as they click through it. I especially like the 'personal profile' section on this which teaches them that whilst your address is personal information, your town name isn't (as thousands of people live in it so it would be hard to identify you amongst them) - indeed, being aware of this information about other people can be interesting and helpful if they live in a different country where a time difference is involved.
Finally, to end the lesson we have a discussion on the reasons why you should only communicate and join age-appropriate websites, highlighting points such as: you won't be breaking the terms and conditions of the site by lying (I stress this word) about your age, there will be greater safeguards in place to ensure that you don't become the victim of cyber-bullying attacks and the material on them is going to be more appropriate for your age (e.g. not contain explicit/violent images which could offend/upset you).
I always think that its a fine line between making children aware of e-safety issues whilst at the same time not scaring them too much about the dangers that are out there. This pair of e-safety lessons works well though as it gives them the right balance I find between learning the risks associated with using digital communication tools whilst at the same time teaching them that they can be managed using a variety of methods to help minimize them. You can view some of the leaflets they produced on my school's website by clicking here.