THE ORGANISER of an e-safety conference in Rotherham said it had gone “over and above my expectations” and praised three young speakers who related their own online experiences.
Social worker Lynn Findlay (below), an e-safety consultant for Foster Care Co-operative (FCC) coordinated the event at Carlton Park Hotel to bring together representatives of local authorities, fostering organisations and charities from all over the country.
Timed to coincide with Safer Internet Day, the conference features several expert speakers and stalls, as well as a “wall of quotes” written by young people about their experiences of the online world.
“The event went over and above my expectations,” said Lynn, who writes monthly articles on esafety for the FCC website.
“The most important part of the day was hearing three young people talk about their online experiences, both as young people growing up in the digital age and from a care experienced perspective.
“They were amazing and their confidence in speaking to a room of people was outstanding.
“I was overwhelmed by the passion for making a difference to the young people we care for through sharing knowledge and listening to what young people are telling us.”
Lynn said while Safer Internet Day was conceived by the UK Safer Internet Centre to raise awareness and signpost e-safety learning for children and young people generally, there remained a knowledge gap in terms of specific learning, advice and awareness for vulnerable children in care.
She became aware that there was not a resource aimed at vulnerable and fostered children and decided to use her expertise and contacts to bring organisations together with the common goal of keeping vulnerable children safe online.
Speakers at the event included Harvey Gallagher, chief executive of The Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers; Cath Knibbs, cyberspecialist and clinical researcher and adult/child psychotherapist; and Claudia Megele, head of service for quality assurance and a principal social worker.
All surplus income after expenses from ticket sales for the conference will be ploughed back into providing more foster care support and training.
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