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Helping young people navigate the pitfalls of the web

Online Safety

Parents had a chance to meet the mayor after the online safety course

The council has launched an online safety course aimed at keeping children safe from cyber bullying and sexual exploitation.

Tower Hamlets Council is one of only a handful of local authorities in London to offer the course which was unveiled in September.

So far nearly 200 parents have accessed the course in their child’s school, thanks to a boost from the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund.

A further 33 schools have booked sessions, which will take place before the end of the year, with more sessions to run from January.

Nearly £3m has been committed through the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund to support residents, businesses and the work of community organisations recover from the impact of the pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic working styles for schools and children changed dramatically during lockdown with schools closed and children doing lessons virtually.

Even after lockdown, children are used to having access (some unlimited) to the internet and this maybe having a negative impact on their social skills, sleeping and worst-case scenario leading them to dangerous situations.

Mayor John Biggs met parents and Executive Head teacher Terry Bennett at St John’s Primary School in Bethnal Green who had an online safety session delivered by Denise Foster from the Tower Hamlets Parental Engagement Team.

Mayor Biggs said: “The internet is an amazing resource for learning with access to so much information at the click of a button, but there is also a lot of things on the internet which are not suitable for young people and a space where children can fall victim to online grooming, cyber bullying and sexual exploitation.”

“That is why it is so important we work with schools, parents and young people to provide courses like this to keep parents alert of what their children could be viewing on the internet and for young people to know what is safe and not safe for them.”

Jill McGinley, Head of Parent and Family Support Service said: “Providing accurate and accessible information and support for parents is a priority for the Tower Hamlets Parental Engagement Team.

We have worked closely with schools for many, many years and co-produce our activities with parents and carers, listening to their concerns and challenges to help shape the services we deliver. We are excited about the new online safety programme and the positive feedback received from parents and schools.”

Parent Rumena Begum said: “The session was excellent, it helped me to put controls on the internet so it goes off at a set time. I didn’t know I could do that.”

Kathy Richards who attended the online safety course added: “I was really worried about Apps, I didn’t know my child had to be 13 years old to use TikTok.”

“The session was a good reminder for actions parents need to take to protect children, I will now balance screen time with off screen time”

Ashley Smith, parent added: “The session was fantastic, it has given me the confidence to talk to my children about the risks online”

The online safety course can be delivered in a range of community languages including Bengali and Somali.

To find out more about the free sessions email parentalengagement@towerhamlets.gov.uk or visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/parentfamilysupport

The online safety course joins an extensive offer of parenting and healthy families programmes provided by the council including parent volunteer training and engagement forums such as the Parent and Carer Council (PCC).


Posted on Tuesday 19th October 2021