Digital leaders give Children’s Commissioner tour of Facebook online safety expo

Six senior Sydenham High Digital Leaders had the privilege of showing the UK Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, around a major new digital online safety showcase, and then drew praise from Facebook representatives for their ideas and ingenuity.

Ester Schomberg, Sophia Michael, Jessica Verri, Deeya Patel, Emily Coulson and Zoe Kellaris were invited to attend ‘House of Us’, in London on Wednesday , which marked a new partnership between  ChildNet, the Diana Award and Facebook to widen the availability of their online-safety programmes to schools across the country.  The invitation followed on from the students becoming Qualified Digital Leaders through the ChildNet online platform, so there were excellently prepared ambassadors for the school and the programme.

The experiences during the day ranged from exploring a sensory maze, designed to show the isolation and loneliness caused by cyberbullying, to a voice-controlled room, which visually represented the impact of positive actions online.

The Digital Leaders discussed issues with students from other schools but the highlight of the day was being given the honour of showing the UK’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, around the House of Us expo. They also gave a very polished presentation on their idea for a new showcase experience to her and to representatives from Facebook, who gave them high praise for their insightfulness and ingenuity.

 

Sydenham High's Digital Leader programme is designed to let students take the lead in championing the positive use of technology in and out of school.

The Qualified Digital Leaders will now help deliver PSHE sessions to their respective year-groups in the coming months.

Speaking after the event, Matthew Llewellin, Sydenham High’s Digital Strategy Leader, said that, with half term approaching, it was a good time for students to be reminded about the downside as well as the upside of online activity and for parents to speak to their daughters about their use of devices and, specifically, social media. “Regular, open conversations on sensible levels of use and a cautious approach to developing their online presence will help keep you up to date with their usage and behaviour online,” said Mr Llewellin. “Consider introducing a ‘family agreement’, such as those available in the excellent Childnet resources or in Google’s new Be Internet Awesome resources.

“Above all, make sure you and your daughter are comfortable talking about what they are experiencing online and that they know you’re there to talk through anything they’re unsure about.”