Donna Shah: Teaching Online Safety with now>press>play

Donna Shah is a computing specialist who has worked with Newington Green Primary School and Rotherfield Primary School in Islington. These schools use now>press>play as part of their curriculum enrichment, helping children learn through experience about how to stay safe online.

How now>press>play changed the way I teach online safety

Watching the class as they progressed through the KS2 Online Safety Experience was eye-opening. Although I have been teaching online safety for several years, I have never seen students ‘live’ through a situation like this. A wide range of emotions was visible, including from those pupils who may be hard to reach in a regular lesson. Fear, shock, alarm, and relief were just a few emotions that I felt myself.

Now that the pupils have experienced the now>press>play Online Safety Experience, I am more confident in their ability to identify potential pitfalls when they are online. The children came out of the session sharing their thoughts and feelings about the speed with which personal information had the potential to go viral.

The Experience provided a springboard to a discussion in many areas. For example, it taught us the type and amount of personal information we may already have about our friends and how we might behave with that information when we are online. As the Experience demonstrates, friendships may turn sour without notice, so respect is key.

Primary school student using Now Press Play pink headphones

When we did the Online Safety Experience it really made me think. I hadn't been put in that situation before and I know now that if I was, I would make the right choices.

Possible follow-on uses

This is THE perfect activity to tie in with Safer Internet Day. now>press>play offer versions of their Experience for both KS1 and KS2, meaning it can be used in teaching online safety across our entire school. Furthermore, the Experiences can be accessed at any point throughout the year and can be linked to a number of subject areas outside of Computing and PSHE.

Newington Green Primary School holds a ‘social skills week’ at the start of our Autumn Term, and uses the Online Safety Experience to explore friendships, including the oversharing of personal information. In the classroom, the learning opportunities from the Experience can be linked to a number of follow-up activities, including many additional resources provided by now>press>play such as Writing Opportunities, a Glossary, and Quizzes. In one of our classes, we created ‘friendship posters’ with top tips for keeping personal information to yourself.

This activity is ideal to share with parents as they can participate with their children. The end of the immersive Experience is the perfect opportunity to open a discussion with parents and children about their online activity.

Group of children complete Now Press Play worksheets while wearing pink headphones

I went home and told my family all about it. My big brother said he wishes he'd been taught like me, he doesn't always listen to grown-ups.

Next Steps

The next steps may include creating similar scenarios which pupils may have been a part of or witnessed. These could be worked through in a ‘Conscience Alley’, where pupils try to make the correct or most appropriate choice. Similarly, the now>press>play Experience may be used to stimulate a piece of ‘adventure’ writing, where the reader makes the choices as to how the story progresses. This requires imaginative writing whilst addressing complex scenarios in a secure environment.

The now>press>play Online Safety Experience is the tool we have been looking for to address such an important topic in a meaningful and memorable way.

now>press>play offers over 100 different Experiences covering topics across the entire UK curriculum. We enjoy using this immersive resource across all year groups, from EYFS to KS1 and KS2. In particular, we love how the now>press>play Experiences cover all subjects and topics in such an inclusive and engaging way.

Three boys are wearing pink headphones and doing Now Press Play's Stone Age Experience. They are in a forest surrounded by wolves, with Stonehenge in the background.