A safer internet for WESC Foundation young people

11 February 2020

Some thoughts on Safer Internet Day 2020

WESC Foundation student using specialist IT technology

The internet, and especially social media, provides amazing opportunities for sharing information and communicating. We are also all aware of the risks that exist when communicating online.

For our school and college students the internet is an important part of keeping in touch with friends from WESC Foundation when students return home for the holidays, and also long after their time with us finishes. All the young people at WESC Foundation have a visual impairment, and many will use screen reader or magnification software in smartphones or other technology to help them access the internet and social media.

We know that some of our young people might be particularly vulnerable when using social media, so we try and help them understand the potential dangers of using the internet and how to stay safe. This might involve conversations around befriending strangers online (in an age where dating apps have normalised meeting up with complete strangers the messaging around this topic seems to be a little confused). We also discuss things like what information or photos you should or shouldn’t share on social media, or who a young person can talk to if they acknowledge that something doesn’t feel right.

We also work with each young person on a one to one basis as well as group sessions . For some of our students this will involve a specialist speech and language therapist who can adapt materials to help with that particular person’s communication needs.

Next steps

The UK Safer Internet Centre has some excellent online resources for children aged 3-11, older children, as well as advice for parents, carers, teachers and professionals.

WESC Foundation needs to raise money for specialist equipment like communication devices.

Find out how you can help

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