Sheffield team back vital discussion on children's safety online

A Sheffield organisation helping children to stay safe online is sponsoring an NSPCC conference.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 5:00 pm

Natterhub, an educational media platform designed to teach primary school children about online safety, is the lead sponsor of the NSPCC’s annual flagship How Safe conference.

The conference, which this year will take place entirely online, is an opportunity for safeguarding professionals to share their knowledge and expertise on the issues most affecting children and young people.

The Sheffield-based company will be presenting its Soundbite Solutions - a series of video presentations discussing some of the key issues in online safety and digital literacy.

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Natterhub’s co-founders, Manjit Sareen and Caroline Allams, will talk about several different subjects, including the benefits of learning through play, ways to make young people more resilient in digital spaces, the problem of young people sharing sexually explicit imagery and giving children a network of trusted adults they can turn to for help.

"We're extremely humbled to be the sponsor of this year's conference,” said Sareen, CEO of Natterhub and a parent of two young children. “We're currently in our third national lockdown and it will be some time before we fully understand the effect that this period will have on our children's development, mental health and online behaviour.

“Children and young people have also been spending more time online as a result of the pandemic. Although digital spaces have undeniable benefits, they also come with risks.

"It's never been more important for all child protection professionals to share our expertise and create solutions that will allow children to not only be safe in digital spaces, but flourish and thrive in them.”

Claire Johnson, NSPCC Director of Services, said: “Natterhub’s generous support will enable us to deliver How Safe 2021 digitally at a pivotal time for children.

“This means that despite the difficulties the pandemic has created we are able to bring together child protection professionals from across the four nations when young people urgently need our expertise, passion and collaboration.”

The Natterhub tool has over 200 interactive lessons designed to teach 5-11 year-olds how to use the internet safely, presented in a platform that emulates real-life social networks and allows pupils to ‘play’ at being safe online by posting, video sharing and chatting with peers. Teachers can weave Natterhub throughout the timetable by leading lessons, or posting activities for pupils to complete on their own.

Natterhub is part of TwinklHive, the business accelerator created by Sheffield-based educational publisher Twinkl. The business has seen exponential growth since its launch in April 2020, with over 3,000 schools in more than 50 countries using the platform, and has more than doubled its full-time staff as a result.

Natterhub has also partnered with the Laptops For Kids scheme, an organisation providing secondhand computers to primary schools in South Yorkshire.

“Technology is bringing so many amazing opportunities to children,” said Allams, chief creative officer at Natterhub and a former assistant headteacher.

“They can access information from all over the world at the press of a button. The kind of remote learning we’re seeing now would have been impossible just a decade ago.

"But spending more time online puts children at greater risk and it’s crucial that we teach them to use the internet appropriately if they’re to thrive online.”

The How Safe Conference will take place virtually on March 4-5. Attendees will be able to take part in 30 sessions over the two days and all content will be available online for delegates to view for two weeks after the event. The full agenda and tickets are available at learning.nspcc.org.uk

Natterhub also has a blog about teaching children to be good digital citizens. Find it here: https://natterhub.com/blog/top-tips-digital-citizens

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor