Myth vs Reality - New toolkit from Childnet

Childnet launches new resources to support young people as only 15% of 11-14s say they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Children’s charity Childnet launch new resources to address online pornography, healthy relationships and body image online.

Brand new resources have been launched by children’s charity Childnet, as part of its work in the UK Safer Internet Centre. The ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit covers the issues of pornography, healthy relationships and body image and is designed to be used with young people aged 11-14.

Whilst 80% of 11-14s surveyed by Childnet said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships. After taking part in the activities, 77% of those surveyed felt they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Following on from the huge success of the ‘Crossing the Line’ toolkit launched in 2016, which covered the issues of sexting, peer pressure, cyberbullying and self-esteem, this new toolkit includes a range of videos, quick activities and adaptable lesson plans based on the real experiences of young people.

The toolkit was created following focus groups conducted in five schools across the UK, where young people expressed the need for education about the portrayal of gender, bodies and relationships online with a particular need for education about the reality of online pornography.

One boy aged between 11 -13 in a focus group stated that: “the less educated people are about sex and relationships the more they are going to try and look for it.”

With Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) becoming statutory in all schools from September 2020, these resources provide schools with much needed practical, thoughtful and helpful resources to support them in teaching RSE. It also comes as the UK prepares to be the first country in the world to implement an age-verification system for online pornography.

The toolkit has been tested in seven schools across the UK where both teachers and pupils tried out the resources and provided feedback about the impact it had had in their school.

Research was conducted with young people aged 11-14 before they completed the toolkit, providing over 600 responses:

  • 80% said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, but only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • Only 23 % said that they could recognise the difference between what is considered the ‘ideal’ body image online and the reality of a realistic and healthy body
  • Only 23% said that they knew what makes a healthy relationship online
  • After taking part in the activities in the toolkit, young people aged 11-14 reported on the impact that it had, with over 450 responses. Schools saw an increase in confidence and knowledge of the issues in the toolkit:

  • 90% said they now felt confident in supporting themselves and others with the issues related to online pornography
  • 77% said they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • 69% said the lessons made them feel more confident in supporting my friends online when it came to issues around body image
  • 59% felt confident in supporting themselves and others with unhealthy relationships online
  • Will Gardner OBE, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
    “The issues that affect young people online are changing and are complex. It is vital that all young people are given the opportunity to discuss the pressures they face online, and develop the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality.

    We have created this toolkit to support and empower educators in exploring these challenging and often interrelating topics with confidence, and to allow them to help their pupils develop the strategies they need to navigate the online world. It’s clear from those schools who have taken part that these resources are much needed and can have a real impact on the lives of young people.”

    One secondary school teacher from Gravesend said:
    “The pupils loved the lessons and one year 9 class asked me when the next lesson was. When I said it was a one-off they said 'we need more lessons like this'. (…) Thank you so much for asking us to be part of the trial - I also learnt a lot."

    A year 9 pupil commenting on the healthy relationships activities said that: "This lesson helps people who are silently struggling. I learnt about how communication, respect, trust and boundaries are key."

    Another young person said, “I learnt what [pornography is] about and where I could go if I needed to talk about it or needed help and that you don't need to look a certain way for other people."

    For more information on how the toolkit can be used in education settings read this piece on ‘How teachers can use the ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit’

    Written by Teaching Resources Support on May 02, 2019 13:05

    Healthy Eating

    Food related events and awareness days in January


    Food HeartAfter the possible excesses of recent weeks, come January we are all encouraged (or some may say pressured) to make positive changes to our lifestyles. For those who partake of alcohol, we have dry January, while on the food front we have, most prominently, Veganuary.

    Founded in 2013, Veganuary aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of people around the world try a vegan diet for a month. By the end of the month, it is hoped that participants will know much more about eating a vegan diet, how easy and tasty it can be, and about the many positive impacts it has on animals, the environment, and our health.

    However, Veganuary isn't the only food related campaign taking place during January. Here are just a few of the perhaps less formal awareness days that you could use to start the discussion about healthy eating with pupils:

    4th January - Spaghetti Day
    6th January - Shortbread Day
    19th January - Popcorn Day
    23rd January - Pie Day

    The 14th January is obesity awareness day. According to the NHS, obesity affects approximately one in four adults, and one in five children aged 10 to 11. It can lead to many serious health conditions that are potentially life-threatening. It was also reported this week that children are consuming the equivalent of 2,800 excess sugar cubes a year!

    So, there is no better time to discuss healthy eating with pupils.



    Premium Plus members and PSHE Premium members can download a selection of healthy eating resources to support the theme. Find out more here

    Written by Teaching Resources Support on January 03, 2019 13:21

    The recruitment of young people to extremist causes

    How the Internet is being used to recruit impressionable young people and why schools are at the frontline of tackling the issue


    Extremism EducationOver the summer holidays we have read reports of minors being taken into care because authorities have evidence of parents radicalising their children. Even Boris Johnson has been quoted in the Guardian as stating that radicalisation is considered child abuse and should be tackled head on. The surge in children being taken into care because of this reason is being blamed on the power of the Internet as a communication and networking tool, as well as the ease of access of social media. If recent cases are examples on this matter then it seems this maybe the case.

    The latest reports suggest up to 550 young Britons have made the journey to Syria to join the frontline. We are also familiar with the story of five 15 year old girls from Bethnal Green who gave up everything to become Muslim brides for IS fighters. It's hard to believe that bright, intelligent, westernised girls want to leave loving families to possibly lead a life of suppression and hardship in a foreign land, far away from what they know and understand. The details are hazy about how this has come to be, but it's been suggested that there are certain websites openly trying to recruit young Muslim girls to be ‘IS wives’. Impressionable girls fantasise about the pin up style pictures of the ‘fighters’ and fall in love with the false notion of them striving for territory and justice. Reports have emerged from one girl who managed to escape the regime, that she was abused and kept as a prisoner in one room.

    This has brought about a kangaroo court of accusations and counter accusations from both sides of the issue, with parents blaming the government for not doing enough and in turn the government batting it back, insisting parents need to be more vigilant and more acute to their teenagers changing behaviour and values. Blaming aside, teachers now see themselves on the frontline themselves, in the prevention of extremism amongst their pupils. Many of us feel the pressure from the government to make a difference but feeling, understandably, out of our depths. Are we able to begin to tackle this deeply entrenched issue? And do we feel totally confident driving certain messages in a politically correct environment where emotions are running high?

    After operation Trojan horse was first introduced by Ofsted, schools have been doing their best with their PSHE curriculums by educating pupils about life in modern Britain in the belief that this will give students a greater sense of identity and patriotism. Ofsted seeking evidence that it's elements are being embedded cross curricular. Politically the government was keen to seen to be tackling the issue head on.

    But because PSHE is still not compulsory and in some schools doesn't hold the gravitas needed to truly make an impact, it makes the practical task of teaching and challenging radicalisation very hard. Personally I was seeking confirmation from a political party during this election campaign to commit to making PSHE compulsory, I've been very disappointed and feel that it's a wishy washy contradictory message from our potential leaders. I cannot see any advantages of continuing with optional PSHE if they want measurable change. Making PSHP compulsory is the only way to ensure that issues such as these are given the time, teaching and focus it demands. Only last month Estelle Morris has highlighted the issue in the Guardian newspaper calling for exactly this.

    As PSHE lead in my school, I have done some research about how my school can introduce the topic of extremism, teach pupils about the issue, challenge stereotypes and try to deter extremist views; I can recommend the 'prevent for schools' website, it is excellent. Set up by a team of organisations committed to the issue of stamping out extremism amongst young people, they promote different methods of teaching and learning activities such as theatre group visits and lesson plans. It's also very helpful in explaining safeguarding guidelines and procedures should you ever feel concerned about a particular pupil.

    Perhaps a more unusual method, Humza Arshad is a young Muslim man with his own You Tube channel dedicated to deterring his audience away from extremism. He has over 200,000 followers and the Met have recruited him to talk in schools about his fight. He has the ability to reach young Muslims on their level and speak with a mixture of street credibility and authority- which seems to be a winning approach.

    Looking forward, I suspect teachers will continue to be used as first base in the fight against radicalisation. If IS continue their high profile campaign it's inevitable that there will be ramifications for British born Muslims. With this in mind, I hope the government offers more support to the PSHE curriculum and even go as far to have regional task forces that have the ability to support and provide the clear and direct message needed to make a difference.



    COMING SOON: We are currently developing resources to help tackle this issue in schools, with information for pupils, parents and teachers. TRS members will recieve email updates about these resources as they become available.

    Written by Vicki Dan on September 09, 2015 10:17


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