The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Commission is piloting a Cyber Ambassador scheme in schools as part of its work to tackle concerns about staying safe online.
The aim of the Cyber Ambassador scheme is to enable skilled-up, informed pupils to educate and offer advice and support to their peers so they can make the most of the internet and stay safe. Eight primary and seven secondary schools have volunteered to take part in the pilot.
The first ever Cyber Ambassadors will be receiving their GoFISH (Go Find Internet Safety Help) training over the next couple of weeks. For secondary schools this covers issues such as sexting, cyber stalking and grooming.
Primary Schools are learning how to stay safe and defeat cyber sea monsters Selphire (selfies) Meanataur (cyberbullying), Angler (searching), Info-Eator (privacy) and Bi-Diphorus (befriending).
Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane said: “Cyber security for all ages really matters.
“Our lives are increasingly played out online, with younger people in particular making the most of the benefits that technology can bring. However those who wish us harm are also increasingly using technology, they are clever and we all need to understand the risks these people and their activity creates.
“Young people told us that online safety is a major concern for them. My Youth Commission has responded to this with the introduction of a programme that will embed education, support and advice in schools in a way that is engaging, and most importantly, peer led. I congratulate my Youth Commission and am delighted so many are taking the opportunity to learn how to be safer online.”
Sophie Smith, Youth Commission Member, said: “The Cyber Ambassador programme provides support, information and guidance to young people from someone who is of their own age group.
“It also encourages young people to have an open dialogue about their online behaviours, empowering them to be part of the solution. By encouraging this open dialogue as early as primary school age, we are introducing early education about the risks online. We hope that by implementing our cyber ambassador program, young people will feel more confident reaching out to their peers for support and it will equip many young people with the skills to maintain personal safety when using the internet.”
Portsmouth High school is hosting one of the Cyber Ambassador training days, headmistress Mrs Jane Prescott said: “Any training that young people receive on the impacts and consequences of cyber bullying is extremely important.
“As a result of this training, these young Cyber Ambassador will be better equipped to help identify issues and help enable their friends and fellow pupils to stay safe when using the internet, social media and online gaming.’
Last year, the Youth Commission asked thousands of young people across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton about their concerns as part of its big conversation. Over a third of the young people who took part identified cyber safety as their top priority. As a result a set of recommendations around cyber safety were developed. These emphasised the importance of education and support in schools and included the introduction of Cyber Ambassadors.
Schools that have volunteered to take part in the pilot are:
The training events