Hello, and welcome! Welcome to what is genuinely my first EVER blog. Not only is this my first ever blog, it is my first ever blog posted on my first ever website.
I’ve been working within the field of child online safety for the last 5 years. During this time, I have watched as we the world around me has become increasingly saturated by technology. Children and young people are embracing technological developments, and capitalising on the increased accessibility, affordability, portability (and even ‘wearability’) of electronic and web-enabled devices. Whether at home, in school, or anywhere in between, young people are rightfully maximising the many benefits that technology has afforded them.
This has, however, presented a number of new challenges to parents, carers and professionals. Alongside most opportunities are associated risks. Opportunities facilitated through the internet are no different. With the opportunities to access a wealth of research and information comes the risk of exposure to an apparently infinite array of inappropriate content online. Alongside the opportunities to build social networks, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries, comes the risk of coming in to contact with others hiding behind the perceived cloak of anonymity that the internet provides, intent on abusing or harming others. And with new opportunities to create our own content, build our own online brand and share information, ideas and inspiration with others, comes the risks of others stealing and abusing our information, or using our personal content to make judgements on our professional reputations.
If we give some serious thought to online risk it creates a sense of fear, for sure. It is certainly tempting to want to wrap our little ones in cotton wool, by restricting and limiting their access to the internet in a desperate attempt to keep them safe. But to withdraw a child’s internet access would be to deny them the many opportunities it presents. Instead, it is out job as parents, carers and professionals to foster resilience in children online, providing them with the knowledge and awareness they need to manage the risks that they may face.
Online safety (as with any form of safeguarding or child protection) should not be the responsibility of just one person, but everyone who comes in to contact with children, whether through their professional or personal lives. And I guess this is why I have decided to do what I do. I have a strong passion to improve child internet safety, and an innate drive to help those around me to do the same. These two, combined, have led me to take the step to launch this new website, and embark on the next part of my journey to grow what I do, and continue to improve the safeguarding of children and young people online across the UK and hopefully beyond.