Western Digital Safeguarding Steering Group (Staying Safe Online)
The Western Digital Safeguarding Steering Group is made up of voluntary and statutory agencies in the Western Trust area of Northern Ireland. We are committed to delivering evidence-informed training and resources to make technology and the Internet a safer place for all. We support the vision of the 5 Rights Foundation which believes children and young people should be supported to access digital technologies creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly.
Click Here to visit our Page Tiger.
We deliver high-quality training focused on Digital Safeguarding Awareness. This training is open to professionals who work in the WHSCT area and work directly with children and families. The training is open to professionals in the statutory, voluntary and community sector. We are unable to offer places to the general public or private/fee-based organisations or companies. Our training consistently well-reviewed and is delivered by professionals trained to CEOP Ambassador level with expertise in their respective fields, including suicide prevention.
Conferences, Master Classes and Bespoke Events
We deliver and/or signpost to events and invite experts including YouTubers from across the world to spread positive messages about staying safe online. In 2011 and 2012 we held two ‘Virtual Lives’ Conferences, in 2017 our Conference focused on, ‘How Tech Impacts on Children’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing’, in 2018 we explored ‘Digital Resilience Across the Lifespan’ and in 2020 we will focus on, ‘Boundaries in a Boundaryless Environment- Safeguarding Challenges in the Digital Age’. We have delivered and hosted events on technology-assisted domestic abuse, learning disability and technology, mental health and staying safe online and ‘sharenting’. We have also presented at Conferences across the UK, blogged and podcasted about digital safeguarding issues.
Message in a Minute
We send out a monthly e-Message in a Minute that focuses on digital safeguarding topics, events, free training or resources that are relevant to parents, carers and professionals. It usually only takes about a minute to read!
We have been developing a variety of ‘Top Tip’ booklets for children, young people, parents and carers that are available in both hard copy and online.
Click on the following links:-
For all emergencies please contact 999 or 101 for non-emergencies.
Childline: 0800 1111 or click here for online support
CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) – Click here for more information about online reporting
Professionals Online Safety Helpline: 0344 381 4772 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NSPCC/o2 Helpline- Support for Parents and Carers: If you have a question about parental controls or concern about a social network your child uses, expert advisors at our free helpline are here to help. Phone: 080 8800 5002
Parenting NI Helpline: Available Monday to Thursday 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and Friday 9:30am to 12:30 pm. Phone: 080 8801 0722
Other Useful Websites:
Projects and Partnerships
Don’t Worry, Be ‘Appy
Members of the WDSSG worked with Causeway Coast and Glens PCSP to facilitate and present at ‘Don’t Worry, Be ‘Appy’, a Digital Resilience conference for post primary pupils and their teachers in Ulster University Coleraine in February 2019. 1200 attended of which 350 were pupils from schools in the WHSCT area. Evaluations were very positive from both staff and pupils and the project went on to win the PCSP Community Safety Award for Excellence in Collaboration (photo below).
The Digi-PAL project is a joint initiative between the Western and Northern Social Care Trusts and sector specialists, Nexus NI and NSPCC. The project has two objectives that combine to achieve the overall goals of:
- Increased digital resilience that will reduce vulnerability to exploitation through social media and other internet based channels
- An ‘across-the-lifespan’ approach to the implementation of this proposal will ensure that people of all ages and at different stages of life will develop greater resilience to deal effectively online exploitation through social media and other internet sites. Tailored training inputs and facilitated access to information and support will increase their self-confidence and will build their capacity to deal with negative issues
Objective 1: Create a network of community-based ‘digital resilience champions’ to facilitate the delivery of cyber-safety specific training, information sharing and access to appropriate support channels for affected individuals and families.
Objective 2: Create and maintain a digital platform that will connect the network of community-based ‘digital resilience champions’ with ongoing access to expert guidance from service providers. The digital platform will also function as a portal to store and share up-to-date cyber-safety materials and information resources.
- Digi-PAL Champions delivered 14 group sessions to over 80 people
- Digi-PAL Champions delivered 30 one to one interactions with individuals. The most common topics covered were scam detection/avoidance and privacy/security settings.
- Through these sessions, Champions prevented 4 people becoming victims of online scams
- A bespoke core awareness sessions was delivered to 25 Libraries NI staff in Dungiven
- Elements of the Digi-PAL programme are now integrated into the Libraries NI ‘Introduction to iPad’ sessions
- A website has been developed (www.digipalni.org) with a range of signposting and resources for Champions and the public to access. This includes a member’s area to upload feedback from sessions delivered and one to one interactions.
- Evaluations were very positive- view the course evaluation here
Testimonials from participants included:
“I found the entire course to be relevant in some way, whether from a personal or professional perspective. However the information shared in relation to risks to children and young adults online was particularly relevant to my work as a youth worker. However I did feel I could apply all the information shared to some aspect of myself, personally”.
“I think I will use the information I have learnt through this training, to open conversations on the issues of online safety, apps, and risks with the young people I work with. Ensuring they are aware of the various support agencies available and the importance of telling someone, no matter the problem. I have also found myself discussing some of these issues with hose in personal life, ensuring that they too are aware of the risks and support available”.
Western Digital Safeguarding Steering Group Staff