Teachers fear for children's internet safety during lockdown learning

Six out of 10 teachers say they fear for their pupils’ safety online after many relied on the internet to continue learning amid lockdown.

The findings come after children across England returned to school following a coronavirus absence that over half (53 per cent) of teachers believe is now more likely to cause problems for pupils.

Of the 1,004 teachers surveyed by Opinium for Internet Matters, two-thirds said tech is now more important than textbooks for learning while 96 per cent think it is important children have access to a connected device.

The online child safety organisation is calling for parents to stay on top of their child’s internet activity as it launches a new campaign on issues faced by youngsters, including cyberbullying, screentime, peer pressure, online grooming and viewing inappropriate content.

“Many parents have done a great job home-schooling their children over the last six months, despite busy work schedules,” said Matt Burton, head teacher and star of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire series, who is part of the campaign.

“However, tech is becoming part of the new normal when it comes to teaching, so it’s important that parents have a good understanding of their child’s school’s online learning policy.

“We are concerned that parents may relax and think school is taking care of online safety now we’re back, but it needs a joint approach, especially with so many areas facing local lockdowns.”

The study also revealed 56 per cent of teachers felt unprepared for remote instruction before Covid-19 but the majority think it has had a positive impact on their and their pupils’ ability to use technology for learning.

“These figures highlight why it’s more important than ever for parents to stay on top of their child’s online safety,” said Carolyn Bunting, chief executive of Internet Matters.

.