For the last few years, St Peter’s has been marking the importance of children’s mental wellbeing by celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week. These days, a leading impact upon children’s mental health is internet use. Exposure to violent or explicit material, abusive chatrooms and extreme beauty ideals, are all risk factors that we help our children to navigate.
Mrs Hurley, our Assistant Head (compliance), uses the analogy of children crossing the road. The youngest children are not allowed to cross any road without a parent holding their hand. Similarly, internet access at this age may be heavily restricted or cut off completely. Once children get older, they begin to develop the good judgement needed to cross a road safely. The St Peter’s Safer Internet Day is our way of helping children to build this judgement.
We begin with the essentials; to not ever share any identifying information online. As the children mature and the issues they face develop, the workshops alter accordingly. Considerate behaviour in game chatrooms is a typical theme; we remind the children that the digital world is not divorced from reality. What you wouldn’t do to someone in person is also something you shouldn’t do online.
Many social media sites are freely accessible to children who have turned 13. As a result, our Year 8s get a broader conversation, supplementing this chatroom discussion by addressing social media’s often negative impact on self-esteem. Teenage girls in particular are likely to be impacted by the pernicious, and pervasive, social media norms of FaceTune and “tweakments”.
At St Peter’s, we aim to give children a robust sense of mental health, bolstered by the safe and nurturing environment that we provide. Equally, we remind our pupils that it’s okay to not feel okay; that through asking for help, they can get the support that they need.
If you would like to make an enquiry for a place at St Peter’s Preparatory School, please do contact our Director of Admissions and Marketing, Ms Rachel Elliott, on 01395 280335 or email@example.com.