Let’s stay safe online
Get girls thinking about how to stay safe online this Safer Internet Day 5 February
The internet can be a great way to keep in touch, share pictures, watch videos and have fun with friends
But to stay safe online (and off), there’s a few things we need to think about. One of those things is consent - what does it mean online? How do we give it and ask for it?
Online consent is the theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day on 5 February. So why not use the day to get girls thinking about how to stay safe online. Our friends at Safer Internet Day have put together some quick activities to get you started. You can use these games and conversation starters with your unit and, if you’re a parent or carer, use them at home too.
When we’re online we need to make lots of choices and give other people the chance to make a choice for themselves. One way of doing this is by asking for and giving permission, which can also be called consent. Get girls thinking about consent with these conversation starters
- Get the conversation started - What do you like most about the internet and why? What’s your favourite game/app/site? Or How does going online make you feel
- Talk about safety - Do you know where to go for help, where to find safety advice and how to use safety tools on your favourite apps and games? What is okay/not okay to share online? Why?
- Talk about sharing online - How many things can we share online? What do we like to share online? What should we not share online? What should we do before sharing things?
- Talk about online consent and respect within young people’s friendships and relationships - What is consent online and when do we need to ask for it? How do we ask for consent online? How do we give consent online? How do we say no?
- Talk about managing privacy and data online - Who owns content online? What is copyright and how can I use and share work? What does the internet know about us?
These conversation starters and the game below are an external resource from our partners at Safer Internet Day. They can help you engage girls with these important topics but aren't part of the Girlguiding programme.
This Safer Internet Day game is all about getting permission (with the help of a beanbag!). Asking for and giving permission is an opportunity to make a choice about your life online.
If someone tries to encourage you to change your mind about giving consent, you need to be comfortable with the decision you make. Also, you may find it difficult if someone chooses not to give you consent, but it’s important to listen to and respect their decision and not to attempt to convince them to change their mind.
Ask girls to stand in a large circle and provide them with a small beanbag or ball. Explain that they’re going to practise asking permission and find out how many ways of doing it there are! Explain that you want them to take turns throwing the beanbag to someone else in the circle but before they can they must ask permission from the person they want to throw it to. Demonstrate by asking a learner, 'Please may I throw you this beanbag?'. If they respond yes, throw them the beanbag.
Highlight the importance of waiting for the response before throwing the beanbag and choosing someone new if they say no.
Ask girls if they think they can do it and whether it will be tricky or not. If they’re unsure or think it might be difficult, let them have a go – hopefully they’ll realise quite quickly that it’s easy to ask permission. If they think it’s going to be easy, or they have just discovered this by having a go, explain that you’re going to make it more challenging.
Tell the group that each time they ask for permission they must do so in a different way. For example, if the first learner says, 'Please may I throw you this beanbag?' then the second learner might choose to ask, 'Is it okay if I throw you this beanbag?' and so on. Challenge girls to make as many throws as possible – but each time they must ask permission in a different way. e.g. could you make the question shorter or use mime?
At the end of the activity discuss the different ways of asking permission they found. Which ones would work best online? Would any not work? Finish by asking them what they think the message of this activity was. Take suggestions and then give the final message: “It doesn’t matter how you ask permission as long as it’s understood, and you listen to the answer.”
Top things to remember are:
- If something makes you worried, uncomfortable or upset it’s always okay to say no.
- If you’re sure you’re happy with what will happen next, then it’s okay to say yes.
- If what you’re doing online might affect somebody else, always ask their permission first. You should always ask before sharing a photo of someone else.
- And most importantly: If you’re ever unsure or need further support with anything online then speak to an adult you trust for help and advice.
More ways to engage girls
There’s lots of activities in our new programme to get girls thinking about staying safe online too. To take it further they could look at: