Happy kids in a digital world #InternetSafetyDay

Twisted Tales of the Internet with Stories and Poemscropped-26168126_544994662547715_2309515693561184635_n-e1514464943963

1. Celebrate opportunities in the digital world, while reducing the risks

Internet, social media and technology can present fantastic opportunities and raise aspirations for our children, if they can use technology well.  Parents can guide their children with common sense, experience and your own parenting style will help.

2. Start conversations and communicate

Ask about the games they like; new apps, their favourite parts, what they like to do, etc.  Although your child will certainly be impressed if you sprinkle some terminology in the conversation too. Get involved in your child’s digital life and stay involved, strike up conversations regularly.

3. Be a digital role model

This means putting down your smartphone, tablet or laptop and looking into your child’s eyes and listening. We often think that think that screen time off is just for children and young people, but the truth is many adults are in need of some digital detox too. Oversharing is a no- no too; taking tons of photos of your child and posting on Facebook accounts has been shown to cause anxiety for children.

4. Build resilience into their digital lives.

Parents can teach their children to be resilient which will allow their child to not feel so bad from some of the online issues which may happen.  Parents can help their children increase their social and emotional skills so that children will be able to understand and manage their online lives.


Implementing digital literacy into the curriculum

Yesterday the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield published her report into social media use by 8-12 year olds, ‘Life in Likes’. Firstly I would recommend reading it, (see link at bottom). Here is also a summary and then some ideas to bring a digital literacy into the classroom.


Children are now spending so much time online and growing up surrounded by it, certainly by secondary school age they are conscious of how they put themselves across on it. Children ages 10-12yrs have social media accounts, though most platforms have an age limit of 13yrs. They are being affected by it every day.; are they cool enough, pretty enough or wearing the ‘right’ clothes?


Family matters. Many children felt uncomfortable about their parents posting pictures of them of social media, but felt they couldn’t stop it. Children also worry about their siblings use of social media online. They use it multiple times a day.

Children kept in touch with friends online, but also fell out online too; could be stressful and distract from outside activities. They maintained relationships online, but also friendships could be damaged.

Identity and approval were all issues they faced. Trying to be like celebrities was also important to some. They felt good when they had likes and comments. They also started to see off-line activities through a ‘lens’ of shareable material.

Social media was also found to inspire them and lead to aspirations and they could learn about the world discovering and exploring online. Social media made them laugh and cheered them up when watching funny posts and videos.

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is a must on the curriculum, not only to look at safety, but also awareness and resilience, understanding online platforms and how they work, and how children’s wellbeing is impacted.

Using Twisted Tales of the Internet book to teach digital literacy

Stories and poems can embed learning quickly and discussions with peers about what has been read are recommended for schools in peer-peer learning.


The Trolls story involves themes of; trust, resentment, cyber-bullying, dealing with bullies, online fraud, safety, vlogging, blogging, YouTube-ing, making a career online, trolling and self-image.

King Click is a moral tale of online shopping.


Selfie Central can help review how much selfies are about image, or filtered, or about fitting in.

‘Snap your best friend’s brunch!’ ‘Snap a pic of a marrow in the local shopping isles!’

Beware the Dreaded Internet has a mix of funny, yet cautionary rhymes, to help get the message of who’s behind the screen.

‘Who’s behind the screen; could be good, could be bad?

Could be ready waiting when you’ve had a barney with your mum and dad!’

 My Body Belongs to Me is a serious poem of body image and keeping photos private.

Cyber Space used to talk about being open to the world.

This is the Screen about everything being on a screen, but what’s behind it and is it always the truth? Getting cyber savvy with ideas.

The Fake News Blues a rap about fake news, and how to spot the lie.

Other poems to be continued…

I will update with specific uses of each poem and themes and add more. In the meantime check out the full report and the Twisted Tales book by following the links.


Twisted Tales of the Internet book with stories & poems

Untitled design-3 copy.png


Reading for pleasure known to improve well-being!


A book a day, because you’re worth it!

Reading improves your health, especially when it’s for fun with Pongy Stinkbelly!

So it’s been proven that reading really does improve your health. Reading for pleasure and well-being is linked; evidence shows a correlation between reading for pleasure regularly, as it can lower levels of stress and depression. Reading also seems to reduce the risk of dementia, with frequent readers (with a daily habit) having lower chance of dementia in later life. Evidence shows us, reading is empowering. The research shows, the more the reading is for pleasure, the more benefits will be felt by the reader.

  Reading improves our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy, giving the reader an insight into the world view of others. In addition to the health benefits, reading for pleasure has social benefits and can improve our sense of connectedness to the wider community.

   Pongy Stinkbelly has helped children feel empathy and express views about how Pongy might feel, and how to help him. A child reader can take on board the struggle of a character and offer an helpful solution to the story. It allows a child to take on the problem of the character from different perspectives. How would they help they character? How would they be a friend to the character? What would they say or do if faced with the same dilemma as the character? A broader look at life, and how we see each other, can help children learn about themselves and others.

Whatever you are reading, the key is, keep it joyful and an exciting thing to do and let it be integrated as a part of everyday life. It’s a daily activity. The more it’s encouraged and done, with role models, discussions, time set aside for reading, to become part of the day, the more it will impact, and with just a few of those health benefits, its worth it!

Pongy Stinkbelly book