E-safety champion Henry Platten is on a mission to make the internet a safer, healthier and kinder place for children.
A GoBubble Blog, By Henry Platten
Understanding digital interactions and learning how to lead a healthy digital life is of growing importance for young people today. And like any life skill, learning how to thrive in a digital world is something which needs to be demonstrated, discussed and practiced.
Of course, internet access, and specifically use of mainstream social media, is a topic very close to many parents’ hearts. Our kids want to chat online with their friends, communicate and create content, just as they see parents, elder siblings and potentially friends doing. So integral in our society is this ‘new’ form of communication.
Through my role as an e-safety champion I am all too familiar with the pull of social media felt by our children. And, of course, the news is quick to report the downsides of social media use in children. On the flip side, there are many positives to be gained from understanding how to communicate, create and collaborate digitally.
In 2012 I launched eCadets; a successful pupil-led online safety education programme. With a view to creating a safe online space for children, families and teachers to enjoy creating digital content and interacting with friends, I subsequently founded the child-safe social media experience, GoBubble. My mission was to establish a platform which offers a welcome balance; where children can benefit from the advantages of social media and parents/teachers don’t have to worry.
I am proud to say that GoBubble is making a real difference in the lives of kids, teachers and families every day. We have been able to offer an online space that is safer, accessible and fun to use. And pivotally, we have designed GoBubble to be utilised by schools across the globe, as a ‘Freemium’ platform; which means it’s free to register and use.
Through our outreach programme we can see the evolution of tomorrow’s digital citizens and help them to secure important skills. Our users value kindness, empathy and community. They can express themselves, communicate with their peers and explore and experiment with digital awareness; valuable attributes which they will take with them into their online lives as teenagers and adults.
In addition to decreasing cyber-bullying, feedback from many of the educators who have implemented GoBubble, is an overall impact of positivity and wellbeing within their classrooms; enabling the development of global digital communities, inspiring creativity, supporting writing skills and many other aspects of the curriculum.
Ian Rockey is the headteacher in the UK. He has found that GoBubble has supported students in understanding more about the world around them, and expanded communication horizons. Here’s what he has to say:
“At Westwood with Iford Primary School we have been using GoBubble to successfully collaborate with peers and professionals around the globe.
“As a village primary school, we are always keen to enhance the children’s internationalism and appreciation of the world around them and GoBubble provides the perfect safe, secure platform with which to communicate, share ideas and celebrate experiences.
“Through GoBubble we can teach children to think before they post in order to become good digital citizens and to keep themselves safe online. This is crucial in an age when social media has become such a powerful medium. Our children have found this both an engaging and exciting way to learn. It has clearly impacted on their understanding of how important it is to communicate online in a respectful and safe way, and we are looking forward to another year of collaboration and communication online through GoBubble.”
Tilly O’Brien is a teacher in London. She’s proactive in nurturing a positive example of digital citizenship in her school and started to use GoBubble to support her ethos in April 2019. Here’s what she has to say:
“GoBubble has made a huge impact at our school. It’s definitely a platform where our children feel safe.
“Since we introduced GoBubble we have seen a reduction in students using Snapchat, WhatsApp and other mainstream social networking sites. And, because GoBubble users are rewarded for the positive interactions they make, we have seen lots of the children giving each other ‘likes’, paying each other compliments and generally acting with kindness and sensitivity.
“Our users quickly learnt that they are responsible for the content they post. It’s preparing them for future interactions whilst giving them more time to be children.
“Our families have certainly seen the positives of GoBubble, and the children enjoy using it too; I would definitely encourage other schools to sign up.”
GoBubble uses a unique form of AI powered moderation to remove any problematic content before it appears. Unlike others, we have developed the site to screen both written and video content prior to posting; so, there’s definitively no chance that inappropriate content will appear. This exclusive feature relating to video content is something which the wider industry has struggled with. Consequently, we are in talks with other developers to make our technology available and help them to keep their sites safe too.
Our user base is continually growing and we’re proud to say that GoBubble is now in 31 countries. Teachers have been getting very excited about the Global Wellbeing Educator Badge and Digital Wellbeing Pledge, both of which were launched as part of the GoBubble 2020 Year of Wellbeing: https://gobubble.school/channel/digitalwellbeing
And, watch out for the team at the conferences and events you’re attending! Or, follow along via Twitter to see what we’re up to! 2020 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year!
Sign up your school at: GoBubble.School
You can keep up with GoBubble news on Twitter @joinbubble