Sunday, 25 November 2012

Internet safety and our children

Since reading this article  posted by a fellow tweecher earlier in the week, I have been unable to stop thinking about the importance of education  regarding internet safety.


Along with the majority ( I think)  of teachers , I am a "digital immigrant" having been born and educated at a time pre social networking and internet access . Today's school children and students could be described as " digital natives" having been immersed in the super technological world we live in today.

Don't get me wrong; I am certainly not against social networking,  blogging (I would be somewhat hypocritical if I was!) and the use of the internet in schools. I am looking forward to a time in school when ICT is fully integrated into every aspect of my teaching. ( As it already is in many schools)

The article highlighted the dilemma we face in schools: to filter, or not to filter?

There are plenty who say not to filter because it is our role, as educators, to ensure that children are taught how to use the internet appropriately. and    are most interesting reads and present a case for not filtering and embracing the use of social networking.

On the other hand there are those who say that we must act to protect the children we teach , so must block/filter web sites.

I agree with both sides of the argument.
HOWEVER  I see the issue as a far wider one than we can deal with in schools. Yes, we can run parent workshops, we can send home guides, invite police and CEOP in...but that only works for the 'worried well' and certainly not everyone.

Children are accessing the internet from earlier and earlier ages ,

and are often more knowledgeable about the internet than their parents,

So, how DO we protect our children?

In my opinion we should be teaching children how to use social media safely, yes in primary schools too- children are using facebook and other social networking sites and not talking about it isn't going to stop it.

What is as (if not more) important is that  parents need to be taught how to help their children to be safe online and how they are responsible to monitor what their children are accessing.

This is a bigger issue than we as teachers can deal with.

In my opinion, this is something that needs to be tackled by the media which is accessed by the vast majority of the population. Nadine Dorries was mistaken in thinking that her time on , "I'm a celebrity" would get her message across . It is widely known that most of what goes on in "reality shows" never makes it past the editing room floor. However, she did have a point in so far as more people vote on these shows than in elections...

Viewing figures for soaps are at similarly high levels- is there a reason why they cannot do a public service and demonstrate safe and appropriate internet use as part of the "day to day life" they show. Not in wall to wall shock tactic storylines, but in a way that shows parents having open discussions with their children,

I am not suggesting that this will suddenly turn the situation around, but surely it would be a step in the right direction? As a primary school teacher I worry about the internet content that children can access. Have my hands tied about what I can and cannot teach them in schools.

I know that many schools and LAs have relaxed their filters and that this has worked well for them. How we can address the issue of what children are accessing at home I am not sure. I shall continue to follow developments through the news, twitter and education forums and remain optimistic that internet safety will be given a higher priority both within and beyond the education system.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

100 words for grown ups week 67

I can't quite believe that there are only 5 school weeks until we finish for Christmas!! I have been trying to do a multitude of things; some better than others and had intended to do some decorating today. However, a cricked neck has put paid to that so thought I would have  a go at this week's challenge . (Julia's page at  )

When I read the prompt ," I really tried not to laugh" it made me think of all those different types of laughter that you can have.  A good belly laugh with a mate, a stifled giggle when you should be terribly serious, a nervous laugh when things are not going to plan, a wry laugh at yourself for not seeing what was going on, laughing til you cry... the list goes on and on. 

Here's my effort for the challenge. Read the rest at

Life, love and laughter

I really tried not to laugh:

When I opened the exam paper
                                               to see I couldn't answer any questions,
When I failed my driving test

                                                                      for the third time :/

When my friends told me it wouldn't last;

                                                                        and when it didn't.

When I looked in the mirror

                                                        to see the woman I had become.


I really DID laugh:

When I had the strength to walk away

                                                                     and never look back,

When my precious son smiled at me
                                                                  and melted my heart.

When I met the love of my life

                                                                   who gave me wings.

When I look in the mirror 
                                                    and see the woman I have become.

                                           *    *   *

Thank you for reading .

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

100 words for grown ups

This week the challenge was a picture:
All the details can be found over on Julia's blog at

At first I thought I might do something to do with the Ash dieback disease, but I couldn't possibly make light of what is such a potentially serious situation.
So instead I have used the picture to inspire some serious "Girl Power."

I have parent evenings coming up over the next three weeks so will be pretty busy with those and not sure how much time I will have to do the next couple of prompts. I recently sent the synopsis and first part of my nanowrimo to have some feedback from a publisher who were running a charity event .
(Further details here ) so am looking forward to hearing back from them with some pointers for improvement.

Other than that, my Grandfather has pretty much got up to the present day with recording his memoirs and I am busy typing up and getting into order. After parent evenings I am going to print out a draft for him to go through, then to get some copies bound. (I have never had anything made into a book - well only my dissertation a long time ago and I don't think that counts! Will be picking people's brains about how to go about getting A4 pages put into book size for binding...

Enough prevarication.
Here is my piece for the challenge.
You can read the rest at

Comments/critiques welcomed.

Orange Spot

Muriel scrubbed her hands. “That’ll show them, bloomin 

beaurocrats !”  

The letter had  clattered through the letterbox  the previous morning.
“sustainable forestry... carefully selected.... replanting programme...”

 “Yaddayaddayadda.” She  tossed it into the stove. “I won’t let them, I’ll show’em!”

All her life she’d lived there, surrounded by  the trees she’d come to regard as friends.  They’d grown old together.

 Family gone, schoolmates  forgotten: each  tree held a secret from her past. Stolen kisses, sips of beer, engraved letters, the first time... she hugged her knees closer and laughed out loud.

 The truck rolled into view and she sat back to watch...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A story in a tweet

I had a go at the writers bureau monthly competition; didn't get anywhere but had fun trying.
Here is my "scary story" in less than 140 characters (139 to be precise) excluding title


Drifting to sleep, Josie marvelled at the coolness of his milky skin.
As she dreamt he crept, shadowless, to the window. 
Let feasting begin.