On 3rd June 2014 Childnet, partners in the UK Safer Internet Centre, launched the STAR Toolkit, a new online safety resource that offers practical advice and teaching activities to help secondary schools explore internet safety with young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Developed in partnership with Leicester City Council’s Building Schools for the Future Programme, Childnet’s STAR Toolkit aims to increase the online safety knowledge of educators and empower them to support their learners to use the internet safely and positively.
As Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet, explained:
“The Childnet STAR toolkit is designed to give schools the building blocks they need to develop a tailored approach to online safety for their pupils with ASD. By working with Leicester City Council and three fantastic schools in Leicester we have been able to develop a practical online toolkit that addresses the online risks faced by young people living with autism spectrum disorder, such as cyberbullying, contact by strangers and exposure to inappropriate content. Importantly, this resource is available to all UK schools free online. Through the teaching activity ideas and forum we want to encourage educators across the country to use these resources, and also to feedback and share their ideas and materials so we can collectively and collaboratively provide excellent e-safety education for young people with ASD.”
The aim of the Childnet STAR Toolkit is to assist teachers in educating their pupils with ASD about the internet and safeguarding them against online risks.
The four sections SAFE, TRUST, ACTION and RESPECT all feature the concept of friendship and emphasise the importance of finding the balance between online and offline interaction. At the same time, the resource is continually promoting a positive, fun and safe experience for young people with ASD.
The online resource includes a forum to encourage educators to share their teaching ideas and how they have used and adapted the STAR Toolkit in their educational setting. This will provide a platform for sharing best practices in online safety for those working with young people with ASD.
In supporting Childnet’s project Carrie Grant, celebrity vocal coach and TV presenter said
“As a parent of two children with autism spectrum conditions, I know the huge potential that technology offers for communication and learning, but also the challenges that young people with ASD can face when trying to navigate the internet safely. My daughters love to use the internet, but I do sometimes worry that they could be too trusting with people online. With the launch of the Childnet STAR Toolkit comes the reassurance that educators now have a resource that will help young people to develop online safety strategies for school and for home, something which is essential in today’s digital world.”
To view the STAR Toolkit and join the forum visit www.childnet.com/STAR