Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's time for the government to Face the Book

I've recently read a couple of blog posts about whether or not to give e-safety advice about children using Facebook and other social networking sites:
Both posts offer plenty of food for thought.

I just find the whole issue very frustrating. Why hasn't there been more guidance on this from the government? The previous government, for me, did not regulate social networking sites at all well, and the coalition government has not indicated that they will either. Therefore the lack of awareness of the potential dangers will continue unless schools themselves make an attempt to teach about being safe online.

But of course, as Digital Teacher points out, by doing this could schools open themselves up to litigation if parents believe that the school 'lead them to believe they were doing things safely'?

As far as I can tell, this is the government's advice regarding e-safety in their safeguarding documents:For me this is a green light to go ahead and offer guidance to children about how to use networks safely (whilst always reminding them that they shouldn't use them at all due to the age restrictions on the sites themselves). But it really shouldn't be down to schools to do this without any regulation. The government must show a greater interest and introduce more specific guidance.

The other huge problem that it is probably not the children that need to learn this - but their parents!

The best source of guidance I've found for using Facebook and other social networks is found here.
"To fulfil their commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people all organisations that provide services for children, parents or families, or work with children, should have in place...

A clear understanding of how to work together to help keep children and young people safe online by being adequately equipped to understand, identify and mitigate the risks of new technology."

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