How a primary school in Leeds is preparing pupils to be safer and more confident when going online in their futures

Being online and use of devices has doubled among primary school pupils since the start of the pandemic.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 4:45 am

Self confidence of girls and anger issues with boys have also been affected by the increase in device usage says a computing subject leader at a Leeds primary school.

Charlotte Hahnel of Bramhope Primary School said the school's position mirrored the national picture and comes as nearly three in ten pupils are anxious about their future when it comes to their online safety, a new report from Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has found.

In Mr Zahawi's State of the Nation report, published earlier this month and released to mark Children's Mental Health Week, findings show that 29 per cent of children and young people are most likely to be worried about online safety when thinking about their future.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Digital leaders Priya Kaur and Thomas Henry with headteacher at Bramhope Primary School Rachel Colbourn, taking part in online safety awareness.

It is the first time online safety concerns have been raised in the annual report, which also reveals how five per cent of nine to 17-year-olds are unhappy with their experiences online, while unhappiness with online experiences appears to increase with age.

The news comes as the Government seeks to strengthen its Online Safety Bill to protect children from online harms, whilst some £11m has previously been announced in the Spending Review for the Reducing Parental Conflict programme to prevent "bickering" between children and parents, which can exacerbate mental health issues.

Read More

Read More
Children's Mental Health Week: what we can all learn

Ms Hahnel said: "We know from our recent online survey in school, that this may range from managing device use around bedtime, dealing with anger problems when gaming or navigating some online apps and social media. The competition ran last week and we had some really good ideas."

Digital leaders at Bramhope Primary School where the school has a focus on online safety and well-being for pupils and their families.

They ranged from cutting down online use and app purchases, having device free family dinners, doing a Rubik's Cube instead of playing games online and starting a family book club.

The survey is done every year at Bramhope and asks pupils what concerns the about being online. Online safety is also incorporated into daily lessons with discussions about selfies, body image and addiction, for example.

Ms Hahnel said: "Online safety has been a huge thing in schools for a long time. Historically, going back 10 to 20 years ago we spoke to children about stranger danger. Whilst that it still really important, it is becoming more about health and well-being.

"In our school, like that national picture, device usage is up. Most children have devices and use them regularly for significant periods of time and the age they access content, particularly social media, has gone down.

“We have a high number of children in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 using things like Tik-Tok - which is like the national picture. Issues for girls is around image and selfies, for boys gaming and anger."

There was a balance to be struck, she added, with technology being increasingly relevant to every-day life and hoped that the work they were doing with primary aged children would help them be better equipped to deal with social media and online pressures when they het to secondary school."

She added: "They use technology a lot more but how can they use it to thrive? We do use it for remote learning, home-work can be marked, online teaching and live lessons, we can respond to work that has been sent in and they can use it for research. And then there is the social aspect and technology is really important for talking to friends.

“We certainly don’t say that technology is a problem, but we see that it is growing and they need to develop skills and parents need support navigating parenting in a technological landscape and how to adapt to that.

"If we can give them skills at primary school, hopefully they will be a little bit more confident when they get to secondary school."

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you'll see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.