The DfE has included Dot Com Digital, an online safety resource developed by school children, in its latest safety guidance for teachers.
Dot Com Digital is a child safeguarding resource, developed at Holy Cross Primary in Essex, with close input from children. The resource, built by technology consultancy DataArt, aims to prevent young people becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation, exploitation and bullying by giving them the confidence to recognise warning signs and reach out to an adult for help.
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The project was created through a collaboration between Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police, and uses digital technology to draw a teacher’s attention to children who may be at a higher risk of becoming a victim of online crime. It builds on an education programme that Dot Com Children’s Foundation has been using in primary schools across the UK for more than 15 years, in which children complete a series of worksheets addressing issues including social values, worry, and self-identity.
Dot Com Digital takes a successful programme into the digital sphere and builds on it, meaning more children will be able to talk with their teachers, the police and other professionals about their online worries.
– Sharon Doughty, Dot Com Digital
Children in Year Six at Holy Cross Primary worked closely with DataArt to develop the programme, and Microsoft is providing its cloud infrastructure. The resource is now being piloted at six schools in London, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales for final testing from children and teachers before being rolled out across England and Wales in October.
Founder of Dot Com Digital, Sharon Doughty, said: “I grew up in an abusive home where I did not have a voice. Dot Com Digital takes a successful programme into the digital sphere and builds on it, meaning more children will be able to talk with their teachers, the police and other professionals about their online worries.”
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Dot Com Digital is aimed at children aged nine to 11, and includes guided online safety lessons, where children can record thoughts and feelings in a personal digital journal. The system then alerts teachers to children who have written or drawn material that could indicate they are at risk. Designated safeguarding leads in schools are simultaneously alerted as a double safeguarding measure. If concerned, schools can then share information with appropriate agencies such as the police or social care services.
More information on the programme and how to implement it at your school can be found at https://www.dotcomcf.org/