Cyber monsters promote e-safety

School pupils are being taught to slay cyber sea monsters and ‘GoFISH’ in a new initiative to tackle concerns about staying safe online. The Cyber Ambassador scheme is being piloted by the Hampshire police and crime commissioner’s (PCC) Youth Commission to enable “skilled-up, informed pupils to educate and offer advice and support to their peers so they can make the most of the internet and stay safe”.

Oct 4, 2017

School pupils are being taught to slay cyber sea monsters and ‘GoFISH’ in a new initiative to tackle concerns about staying safe online. The Cyber Ambassador scheme is being piloted by the Hampshire police and crime commissioner’s (PCC) Youth Commission to enable “skilled-up, informed pupils to educate and offer advice and support to their peers so they can make the most of the internet and stay safe”. The first ever cyber ambassadors will be receiving their GoFISH (Go Find Internet Safety Help) training in the coming weeks. For secondary schools this covers issues such as sexting, cyber stalking and grooming. Primary Schools are learning how to stay safe and defeat cyber sea monsters Selphire (selfies) Meanataur (cyber bullying), Angler (searching), Info-Eator (privacy) and Bi-Diphorus (befriending). Eight primary and seven secondary schools have volunteered to take part in the pilot. PCC Michael Lane said: “Cyber security for all ages really matters. “Our lives are increasingly played out online, with younger people in particular making the most of the benefits that technology can bring. However those who wish us harm are also increasingly using technology, they are clever and we all need to understand the risks these people and their activity creates. “Young people told us that online safety is a major concern for them. “My Youth Commission has responded to this with the introduction of a programme that will embed education, support and advice in schools in a way that is engaging and, most importantly, peer led.” Sophie Smith, Youth Commission member, said the Cyber Ambassador programme “provides support, information and guidance to young people from someone who is of their own age group”. “It also encourages young people to have an open dialogue about their online behaviours, empowering them to be part of the solution,” she added. “By encouraging this open dialogue as early as primary school age, we are introducing early education about the risks online. We hope that by implementing our Cyber Ambassador programme, young people will feel more confident reaching out to their peers for support and it will equip many young people with the skills to maintain personal safety when using the internet.” Portsmouth High school is hosting one of the Cyber Ambassador training days, and headmistress Jane Prescott said any training that young people receive on the impacts and consequences of cyber bullying is “extremely important”. “As a result of this training, these young cyber ambassadors will be better equipped to help identify issues and help enable their friends and fellow pupils to stay safe when using the internet, social media and online gaming,” she added. Last year, the Youth Commission questioned thousands of young people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight about their concerns as part of its ‘big conversation’. More than a third of those who took part identified cyber safety as their top priority. As a result a set of recommendations around cyber safety were developed, which emphasised the importance of education and support in schools and included the introduction of cyber ambassadors.

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