Think 1st

Think 1st

Before you press send… Think 1st ……..once an image has been sent from your phone, you can never get it back

With the rise in young people having access to the internet and mobile technologies, there has been a national increase in the number of incidences of children talking to people online who they believe to be their own age, but are in fact complete strangers, with hidden agendas, posing as children and young people.

Sir John Hunt was one of the schools in the city who recently undertook a survey of students health related behaviours, and discovered that: 78% of respondents in the city use the Internet over a connection to a smartphone; only 37% of pupils responded that their parents have rules about what internet sites they can use and 76% of pupils responded that they use the internet for accessing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter etc. Disturbingly only 64% of pupils responded that they can ‘usually or always’ say no when a friend wants them to do something they don’t want to do.

At Sir John Hunt we have identified that as part of our pastoral support we need to ensure that our students have the knowledge and skills to enable them to stay safe in relationships on line. It is important that our students understand that not everyone on the internet is as friendly as they may at first appear: by teaching students about appropriate relationships, and how to respond if they are worried, we hope that they will be more confident and stay safe.

The Think 1st project was conceived by Karl Sweeney from Plymouth City Council, and involves inputs from local organisations: The Zone Plymouth; Empower Interventions; Devon and Cornwall Police and Independent Sexual Assault Victim Advisers. Professionals are telling real life stories of how young people have been coerced on line, and show videos from CEOP (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) teaching students how to stay safe.

Karl Sweeney from Plymouth City Council said “this is a fantastic project bringing a variety of experts together to keep the children and young people of Plymouth safe…… Think 1st comes from the idea that young people need to think before they undertake an action – be that sending a photo of themselves, or meeting someone who they don’t know.” The morning’s activities will also teach the students about the importance of gaining consent – and the implications of giving it within a relationship. Once something is posted on line it can get out of control with potentially devastating and long lasting impacts to the subject of the content.

To illustrate how an image can get out of control the students have taken this photo this morning and will see how quickly they can lose control of it. It is hoped that the activities this morning will demonstrate to students how important it is to keep personal or private pictures to themselves.

We have a useful video for parents about supporting their children if they do take and send nude photos of themselves and this can be found by clicking here.

Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said "Its great to see the Think 1st project coming to life. Schools are becoming increasingly aware of the issues that can arise in young people’s digital lives and the role they play in helping them, and this project provides some very clear messages about thinking before you post but also that there are people you can turn to if things go wrong".

Further information about keeping young people safe on line can be found at and the UK Safer Internet Centre’s website.