The start of the New Year also sees the start of a new schedule of Online Safety Live events and we’re kicking off this January in the North West. After a short break over the Christmas period we’re once again touring the country delivering our free two hour Online Safety updates to the children’s workforce and I’ve been speaking to one of the presenters, UKSIC director David Wright, to find out what life is like on the front line of Online Safety.
“So David, are you looking forward to the start of a new round of events?”
“Absolutely! It’s fantastic to start the year with a new round of events and continue to reach as many people as we can. In the first three days alone we will see over 600 people. What a way to start the programme for 2017!”
“Your enthusiasm is pretty obvious. What would you say you enjoy most about it?”
“Travelling to the four corners of the country and getting first-hand experience of the different issues that are being faced in all these places and what all the different agencies are experiencing too and also to know that we are not expecting them to come to us but that we can go to them.”
“They’ve been going for some time now, how did they come about?”
“In 2012 we organised two big centralised events, one in London and one in Edinburgh where 600 people attended. At those events we asked everyone “what was the challenge for people to attend?” The response was very clear – time, cost and travel so, we made them free, short and local and Online Safety Briefings were born. Someone once told us that attending a session was like an assault of the senses and that’s exactly what it is. We give as much information as possible in just a short amount of time.”
“In your opinion, why do you think these are so important?”
“The people we talk to all work with children and are potentially facing these issues every day. We need a way of equipping the UK’s children’s workforce with up to date information and resources. This is the UK’s biggest outreach of Online Safety and it’s a fantastic opportunity that we can do it and what an amazing team to do it with! I have a lot of pride to be involved in it.”
Just to prove his love for these events, David then goes on to recount every statistic from these sessions over the years, numbers which have been burnt onto the recesses of his mind. I learn that there have been a total of 280 events and they’ve seen well over 10,000 people. The most northerly session they delivered was in Dingwall in Scotland, most southerly would be Penzance in Cornwall, most easterly being Norwich, Norfolk and the most westerly location was Omagh in Northern Ireland. Impressive to say the least, and all great numbers that we are hoping will increase significantly over the next two years as we throw ourselves into a new schedule of 100+ events.
If all this has got you desperate to sign up to an event near you (which was, to be honest, my intention) then simply go to Online Safety Live for a look at our interactive map which shows all our up and coming events. We look forward to seeing you there.