Stop, Check, Share approach to Online Safety
As part of our commitment to quality education in Online Safety New Era Education has been working with schools to develop a clear and consistent approach for children and their parents to use. We have developed the ‘Stop, Check, Share’ approach to enable children to be assertive and resilient and to take responsibility for their safety. The approach is designed to give children an easy to remember support structure to take control.
Stop, Check, Share is an easy memorable phrase for children to learn. It also fits neatly with action signs that younger children can make to help them memorize e.g. Stop (hand out in a stop motion), Check (a thinking, puzzled pose), Share (a giving, passing on motion). But the key to its success is obviously the thinking behind each word.
Technology is addictive and persuasive. It is designed to hook us in and to keep us engaged (See A Disrupted Childhood Report – 5Rights). It is very easy to transition from one platform to another, from one activity to another, from one device to another without breaks or interruption. There is no time to think and reflect on what we are doing. It’s very easy to go from one thing to another driven by the feedback loops of notifications, messages and alerts. Children may start to watch a video online and then autoplay kicks in and before they know it they are many videos away from their original search. They may start one game and readily and easily transition to another. People are equally persuasive and can be manipulative. It’s easy to be hooked into a conversation online and feel the need to respond. It’s how cyberbullies and those who seek to manipulate others operate.
Getting children to stop is key and part of a healthy approach. Ensuring children have balance in their life is a part of a healthy lifestyle. Taking breaks from screen time, doing different kinds of activity is essential. It’s also a key part of staying safe online. We need children to regularly stop what they are doing online, to take a break and to give themselves time to think, to reflect.
With time to reflect children need to be encouraged to think about what they are doing and to check whether it is safe, considerate, appropriate. They need to be equipped with the ability to question their own activity and that of others.
They need to be able to question themselves;
- Am I doing the right thing?
- Is this fair or appropriate?
- Do I feel uncomfortable with this?
- Does it feel wrong?
- Is this upsetting me (or likely to upset someone else)?
- Is it wrong?
Children need to understand that there are situations where they may not know the answers to the questions and if they have any doubt they should share and seek guidance.
Children need to be able to share what they are doing, have done or experienced. They need to do so openly and honestly. To do this, they need Trusted Adults to whom they can bring their concerns. Trusted adults need to be supportive and considerate. They need to retain the trust of the children so that they can speak openly. Sharing is a critical part of keeping children safe.
It is easier to develop the right kind of environment if Trusted Adults actively share some of the child’s online time in the first-place. Children in the first instance learn their digital skills from their parents, carers and older siblings by observing and copying. They explore without the knowledge or concern at the risks. Sharing in their exploration, watching videos together, searching for information jointly and playing games are all rewarding activities in themselves, but more importantly they build a safety framework around the child.
Working together we can make a better, safer Internet. Stop, Check, Share is one route to support this.
For more information about our Stop, Check, Share approach to Online Safety or if you would like us to run a briefing for any of your school community, don’t hesitate to contact us.