Nexus NI have been delivering education and awareness session on the topic of online exploitation and sexual abuse online to post primary schools across Northern Ireland.
This is part of the Together For You project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. To date (as at end of November) 3,543 young people have been reached with the training.
Judith Boyle, Education Worker for Nexus NI said “We have been getting fantastic feedback on the training delivered. Many pupils, and indeed teachers, are not aware of the dangers online or how to keep their information safe”.
Judith recently delivered a session to a local school, where the following story emerged, highlighting the need for increased awareness in this area:
“A teacher came to me about a sinister Facebook profile of a man in his 50’s who had been trying to ‘friend’ some of the pupils at the school. On checking this out, I discovered that the man had 191 friends and the majority of them were school girls from Northern Ireland. I advised the teacher that the girls should block this person and not accept his friend requests.
On further investigation, I found out that at least 10 pupils had come forward with concerns about this man. Some had received indecent pornographic images of him. I encouraged the teacher to contact the PSNI. It is now in their hands and the school were very grateful for my presence in the school as it encouraged the pupils to speak out about this sinister Facebook user. The school was unable to address the issue adequately until the pupils came forward with information. The Internet Safety presentation facilitated this action and has had a positive end result.”
This case, unfortunately, is not uncommon. However it just takes one individual to report abuse or suspected abuse. Below is some of the comments given by pupils who took part in the training:
“ I have a better understanding of what to do if someone I don’t know tries to talk to me online”
“The talk helped me be more aware, it was very helpful and made things more clear on the internet”
“The presentation was very informative and it has made me more aware of the dangers online”
“I like how you can get help for things like pictures and bullying and I now know that there is someone to listen to you”
Together For You and Nexus NI would encourage any individual to act quickly if they suspect abuse online. You can report it directly to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) or visit the Thinkuknow websiteand follow the procedure given.
If you are a Teacher in the Belfast, South Eastern or Northern Trusts and would be interested in having this training delivered in your post primary school or other youth setting, please contact Nexus NI on 028 9032 6803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out what other Educational Programmes are available under Together For You here.
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