Happy New Year to everyone and welcome back to the Spring Term. I was interested to read last week about the proposals put forward by the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield outlined in the Growing Up Digital report, calling for new laws to protect children’s online privacy and data and for a digital ombudsman to be created to uphold their rights.

The report found that many young people are being left to fend for themselves on the internet against dangers such as bullying and grooming. As the Commissioner said, “The internet is an incredible force for good, but it is wholly irresponsible to let children roam in a world for which they are ill-prepared, which is subject to limited regulation and which is controlled by a small number of powerful organisations. It is critical that children are educated better so that they can enjoy the opportunities provided by the internet whilst minimising the well-known risks. It is also vital that children understand what they agree to when joining social media platforms, that their privacy is better protected, and they can have content posted about them removed quickly should they wish to.”

As girls and parents at BHHS will know, we’ve been working hard in recent years to make everyone aware of some of the dangers of online engagement. The Girls Day School Trust, too, has been working on this and, if you haven’t already done so, I’d highly recommend the series of videos GDST have produce in partnership with Digital Awareness UK, a leading online safety organisation. The series consists of six short films for parents and six matching films for young people to empower families to use social media safely and responsibly.

The videos look at the ways in which the internet and digital technology can be used positively by young people as well as identifying the potential issues they may face.

They cover the most critical themes in online safety today including:

  • Cyberbullying
  • The digital footprint
  • Identity and self-esteem
  • Relationships and grooming
  • Security and privacy
  • Sexting

I’m also pleased to say that the co-founders of Digital Awareness UK, the Digital Sisters (@DigitalSisters ) will be coming in to work on digital safety with all year groups during our annual Wellbeing Week from 6-10 February.