19 October 2018
A major online safety campaign begins in Jersey next week, as new figures reveal that more than half of three to four years olds now use a mobile device to access the internet for nearly eight hours per week.
The campaign, which is a key part of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy and launches on Monday 22 October, aims to educate teachers, parents and school children how to stay safe online, and to ensure Jersey remains a safe place to do business online.
Throughout the week a high impact drama production will be performed for 10 to 11 year olds in primary schools. It addresses a range of online issues including sexting and grooming, underage gaming and playing games designed for over-18 year olds.
On Monday afternoon, more than 100 teachers, school leaders and safeguarding leads will attend a Children’s Safeguarding conference at the Pomme D’or Hotel. Guest speakers include Jersey’s Children’s Commissioner Deborah McMillan, Lorraine Glass of respectme, Scotland's Anti-Bullying Service, Ken Corish, Online Safety Director, Jessica Rees of Ofcom and Julian McDougall, a professor in Media and Education.
Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, who is opening a conference, said: “We must do everything in our power to arm our children with the knowledge and tools to identify the risks they may face when online, and to manage their time in front of screens.
“Much of this work must start in the home with parents but we recognise that this can be a daunting task, especially when the so called ‘expertise’ lies in the hands of our children, who have been born into a world of digital technologies.”
A new leaflet is being designed to help parents talk to their children about online safety and where to get support if they need it.
Senator Vallois said that digital safety is paramount and a priority for government: “It is essential that Jersey is a secure and resilient jurisdiction. Ofcom research shows that 53% of 3 to 4 year olds use devices to go online for nearly 8 hours per week. This is a pivotal time for the island as we set in motion a series of improvements in support of our young people.
“The voice of the child will be at the heart of how we implement improved services, and the recently launched Common Strategic Policy will hold us all to account for putting children first. We will listen to, and involve children in shaping the services we provide, and we will support them with improved educational outcomes and by understanding the digital world they live in.”
All next week the production “I Just Didn’t Think” by Prison! Me! No Way!! and Love Theatre, will be performed for Year 6 students in most primary schools. Lesley Harrison, chairman of Prison! Me! No Way!! said: “We now know that smartphone addiction is a recognised condition and is impacting dramatically on the adolescent development and mental well-being of children everywhere.
“October is European Cyber Awareness Month and this production is part of wider ambitions to raise the profile of Cyber Security and Online Safety for all islanders. The play tackles cyber bullying, loss of control online, data protection online, the sending and sharing of inappropriate images, and gaming.
“After the performance, Prison! Me! No! Way!! Coordinator Dave Barron will lead an interactive workshop with students and members of the production. It isn’t about “telling children off” but about informing them, adding to their knowledge and entertaining them as a way of keeping them safe online.”