A new project that aims to help local students stay safe online has seen positive results with a 48% reduction in cyberbullying in its first year.
CyberMentorPLUS is a programme being run at Greenford High School that has been teaching children, parents and staff about cyberbullying and how to protect themselves online. It has proved such a success that it is to be introduced in other schools in the borough.
According to a study by Plan International UK currently almost half of all girls in the UK have experienced some form of harassment or abuse on social media, and around 40% of young boys receive harassment online.
At Greenford High, cyberbullying sessions are held in assemblies and adapted across the curriculum in ICT and life skills lessons. Some students are then picked to become mentors and help their classmates with issues they might have on the web.
Students have said that they now felt less stressed and had higher self-esteem.
The programme will now be carried out in more Ealing schools over the next three years, until January 2021, thanks to funding from John Lyon’s charity. Some of the pupils at Greenford High who have become mentors will help at the lessons in other schools. These will include lessons for parents as a way of keeping them aware of the threats that their children may face online.
‘I would seriously recommend it’
Mathew Cramer, headteacher at Greenford High, said: “The programme has made a significant impact in keeping our children safe, whilst also helping the teachers and parents realise how to spot dangers online. I would seriously recommend that other schools should adopt the project.”
‘Many dangers associated with online activity’
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people said: ” Although the web is a great source of useful information, it is also fraught with dangers for our children. With online developments moving at such a fast pace, it is therefore vital that all of us take active steps to keep children safe whilst they are online by making them aware of the dangers but also ensuring that they are equally comfortable and confident in using online resources safely.
Councillor Rai continued: “I am delighted that the programme has been such a success at not only making young people safe, but also teaching parents and staff of the dangers so that they can together support our children in dealing with dangers online. I thank the John Lyon’s Charity for extending funding to enable the reach to be extended to parents”.
To find out more about the new CyberMentorPLUS Project or to express an interest in applying, contact Mubina Asaria by email at firstname.lastname@example.org