On Tuesday I went to a conference for NQTs newly appointed to Birmingham LEA. Once of the sessions focused on using new technologies in a school context, and the presenter showed us this video aimed at encouraging parents to become aware of esafety.
I am a bit conflicted about this film. On the one hand I really don’t believe in scare tactics with regards to esafety, and I think trying to scare people who do not fully understand the benefits of new technologies is likely only to lead to over the top blocking and rejection of these technologies. For me, blocking is not the final answer to this, as I can only see it leading to ignorance up until the point young people are finally let loose on all the unsavory content the web has to offer. Instead I strongly feel we need to educate people to be responsible internet users. Some of them will access this content later in life, but the least we can do is educate them so that this happens out of choice, not out of ignorance.
On the other hand, people need to know just how horrific some of the content on the internet is, and at least through films like this they can do so without actually stumbling across it by accident. For this use I thought this film was brilliantly executed, although perhaps needs to be tempered with some discussion of the likelihood of some of these scenarios happening, and the easy steps that could be taken to avoid them.
It’s such a tricky thing esafety; you want people to understand and appreciate the dangers without turning them off to the hugely beneficial aspects of the technology that makes those dangers possible. I guess all we can do as teachers is try to reach the right balance.