In our last two blogs, we’ve looked at the role of peer-to-peer mentoring in online safeguarding and how you can build a safe and successful mentoring programme. This week, we move on to engagement in safeguarding and the positive effects a peer-to-peer programme can have.
In all the schools I’ve visited where there are mentoring schemes in place, there’s much more engagement in safeguarding because children feel more comfortable sharing with peers than teachers.
Whilst they still respect their teachers and the curriculum, they tend to open up more with other children, which is reinforced in the recent Children’s Commissioner’s report and references research that confirms children are keen to discuss their online experiences, but they prefer to do so with their peers.
Mentors know what kind of technologies their peers are using most, and can tap into those technologies to educate each other - whether it’s tweeting regular online safety advice from the school’s Twitter account, recording a podcast about how to flag up problems or making a YouTube video about how the use of social media can impact on future careers.
Mentoring may also include delivering presentations and workshops on the correct way to behave online, providing one-to-one support with new apps and technologies, giving practical guidance on protecting privacy and staying safe online, helping pupils understand their rights online, and acting as a conduit for pupils to report online bullying or flag up issues of concern.
This approach is proving infinitely more engaging than the long-distance worksheet, and mentor-generated-content coupled with in-class workshops and face-to-face conversations are bringing these subjects to life in a way that looking at an A4 printout or scrolling through a long set of Terms and Conditions on a social media platform simply can’t do.
We are already seeing peer-led schemes have a transformative effect on empowering pupils to take responsibility for their safety in the digital world, and by tapping into this powerful and previously underestimated resource, educators now have a highly effective tool for reinforcing positive and supportive behaviours – both in and out of the classroom.
Part 1 of series : The role of peer-to-peer mentoring in online safeguarding
Part 2 of series : Building a safe and successful mentoring programme
Part 4 of series : A collaborative approach to peer-to-peer mentoring