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The Corporation

Posted: 09/02/17

Pupils prioritise online safety

Youngsters at a Mansfield studio school have been sharing positive messages about online safety this week to support a national campaign.

Reece Everett, Connor Mason, Jodie Taylor, Kera Hempsall, Faith Hemsley and Kirstie Hickman show principal Mr Hatherall how safe they are online.

Pupils at the Vision Studio School, on Chesterfield Road, have shared tips and advice about how to act safely and smartly on the internet with fellow students and staff during this year’s Safer Internet Day (7 February).

A whole-school assembly, led by the school’s principal Chris Hatherall, concentrated on some key issues which young people may overlook when speaking to friends or strangers on social media, online chat groups and on gaming apps.

One of the first issues Mr Hatherall highlighted was how uploading and sharing images can affect reputations online. He pointed out the very real dangers of not using privacy settings to the best advantage and stressed that individuals are only as private as their most public friend.

Chris said: “We take online safety seriously every day here at the studio school but today we’ve made a more targeted presentation for our learners so they can reflect on their actions online and make positive decisions when using technology.

“We’re encouraging them to think before they post words and images and consider the risks and how their reputation could be affected in a negative way. We’ve challenged them to think about what a selfie says to the outside world – is it a message, a challenge, is it fantasy or reality or could it be perceived as an invitation to contact the individual?

“I’d like to encourage all young people to feel happy to speak to their mums and dads about what they use social media for. By having those informed conversations, parents can feel at ease that their children are making positive decisions about who they’re associated with online. ”

The pupils at the school, who are aged between 14 and 18, study on health and social care and engineering courses. They also study qualifications including GCSEs in English, maths and science, as well as work placements designed and delivered by local employers.

Health and social care pupil Faith Hemsley said: “I make sure I only have my friends on Facebook to keep myself safe. I don’t agree with people checking in at locations as it makes you vulnerable showing people where you are.”