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Education initiative revamped to boost digital wellbeing in schools
St Ninian's PS celebrating their DSA award. Supplied/Digital Schools Awards
Education & Skills

Education initiative revamped to boost digital wellbeing in schools 

A “groundbreaking” education initiative devised to support cyber resilience and internet safety in schools has been revised to incorporate a greater focus on digital wellbeing.

The Digital Wellbeing Award, which builds on the Cyber Resilience and Internet safety (CR-IS) Badge, launched by the Digital Schools Award scheme in 2019, aims to provide young people with the skills and confidence required to navigate the digital world.

“Digital wellbeing” is the impact of using digital technology on children and young people’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Cyber resilience is a key ambition of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland, published in February 2021.

The Digital Wellbeing Awards acknowledges the increasing amount of time that children spend online and the risks they face as a result.

It is also a response to the proliferation of remote learning during the pandemic, with schools facing increasing demands to include digital wellbeing as part of their wider pastoral care.

The new initiative has gathered national and European perspectives and distilled them into a whole-school road map for promoting students’ digital wellbeing through strong cyber resilience and internet safety practices.

It includes established processes that will enable young people to secure, manage and protect their own wellbeing.

The award will be offered as a stand-alone badge by Digital Schools Awards Scotland, which was established in 2016 in partnership with Education Scotland, Scottish Government Child Protection Unit, Police Scotland and HP, to bring together government bodies and businesses to support the teaching of digital skills in schools.

Anna Doody, programme manager at Digital Schools Awards, said: “Digital Schools Awards was created to help schools develop and maintain positive and resilient digital practices in learning and teaching. Ensuring children have the skills to recognise, react to, and recover from online harms is a natural progression of our work with the education sector.

“At the same time, we also need to promote safer, smarter and kinder ways of playing, learning and socialising online.”

Ollie Bray, strategic director at Education Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Digital Schools Award for Scotland to launch the Digital Wellbeing award. 

“Ensuring our young people enjoy a positive experience online is a priority and this new framework will support education, practitioners and learners to foster a community led cyber resilience and internet safety approach to recognise, react and recover within the digital world.”

To achieve the new badge schools will be required to show that they have embedded cyber resilience and internet safety into their planning and across all subjects, while also implementing a positive and supportive digital wellbeing ethos.

Teachers should include elements of cyber resilience and internet safety in their lessons while student leaders will support and encourage digital wellbeing among their peers.

Schools can find out more here.

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