On 10th February, 110 young people and over 50 professionals, including school teachers, senior leaders and governors, came together at the Grand Station in Wolverhampton for a day of thinking, learning and inspiration to mark Safer Internet Day 2015. The day was part of the city's Safer Internet week, which also saw many schools exploring the issues in class, and an awareness raising campaign on KicFM.
The Safer Internet Day conference was a partnership initiative funded by HeadStart, Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board and the Learning Technologies Team. Russell Prue of Anderton Tiger broadcast live from the venue all day, and recorded a number of great interviews with attendees and session leaders.
The professionals at the conference participated in workshops and presentations from the police, the Learning Technologies Team and national digital safety expert Simon Finch from Northern Grid for Learning. The conference was opened by Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families on Wolverhampton City Council, and by Alan Coe, Chair of Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board.
In a neighbouring room 110 young people, aged between 8 and 16, attended the B-Safe Event. The students came from 18 of the city's schools and alternative providers, and participated enthusiastically in workshops with the police, the Learning Technologies Team, the Central Youth Theatre, KIC FM and the Healthy Schools team. The workshops helped the students to explore the important themes of online safety, privacy and encouraged them to think carefully about their own online behaviour, supporting them in making the best of the incredible opportunities of the internet while keeping themselves and their friends safe. The young people also had the opportunity to pop into the 'diary booth' to record their experiences and answer some questions on safeguarding and e-safety as part of a survey being carried out for the Safeguarding Children Board.
The B-Safe event was closed by a thought-provoking drama on cyber-bullying from the talented young actors of the Central Youth Theatre.
Simon Finch was the afternoon speaker to the young people, and involved the young people in a lively discussion about the digital world and their attitudes to online privacy, social networking and conducting relationships online.
Wolves legend Steve Bull dropped by to be interviewed and to meet some of the young people and the professionals and to lend his weight to the key ideas being explored.
The successful Safer Internet Day event supported us handling ourselves personally and professionally in this modern era of online communications, commerce and digital creativity. We look forward to future similar events, as the work of educating young people in making good decisions about their online activities continues.
Feedback from participants
“Thank you for a great event yesterday, reports back were very positive and the kids had a fantastic day”
“Thanks for inviting our young people to a fantastic event, we are going to be doing more work in school on online safety and feel now some of our young people are more educated on staying safe online”.
“Thank you for all the hard work and things you are doing for our young people”
“Just to say a big thank you for the event today, The students and staff came back absolutely buzzing. They really loved the day and can't wait for the next event”.
"it was brilliant. I learned so much about the dangers of online safety"
"I wish we could do more thing like this, it was great working with the police and the other adults"
"I didn't realise that it was against the law to do some of the things that young people do all the time online"
"Central Youth Theatre were amazing. It was great to do drama as a way of acting out bad things that could happen"
"It was a fantastic day. When is the next one?"