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Internet stranger danger

To be aware of stranger danger on the internet and to make sure children have the necessary information to protect themselves.

by Jude Scrutton

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To be aware of stranger danger on the internet and to make sure children have the necessary information to protect themselves.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Start by asking the children what they use the internet for. Write up suggestions and use a red and green highlighter to mark what is safe and what can be dangerous.

    If it is not mentioned, direct children by asking how many of them use MSN messenger, Yahoo messenger, Dailymotion, YouTube and Facebook.

    Ask how many of them have seen Facebook, or been on Facebook. Ask how many people in the assembly have an account on Facebook. Now ask them to only put their hands down if they are under 14. Tell the children that they are all breaking the law.
  2. Ask the children why they think it is against the law to go on social network sites? Discuss the chat function where people can chat with each other.

    How many people do they know who go out and talk to people on the street they don’t know? Would they ever go up to someone in the street and say, my name is _____? How many of them have friends they have never met on Facebook?
  3. Ask the children to watch the following role play involving two teenage girls, and to try and think about what the possible dangers are:

    Leanne: (pretends to answer door) Hi Natasha, come in. My mum’s let me open a Facebook account. Come and look.

    Natasha: Arhh, you’re so lucky. My mum doesn’t let me on anything like that.

    Leanne: They’re so strict. Come on up.

    Natasha: Wow, you’ve got 350 friends. I didn’t know you knew so many people.

    Leanne: I don’t, but people can find you and add you as friends – then all you do is accept them and you can then talk to them and all their friends.

    Freeze.
  4. Now talk about any possible areas for danger. Ask the children how many friends Leanne has, but how many of these she actually knows. Discuss that most people are friendly and right thinking, but some people are dangerous and could be trying to find and talk to young people and then to persuade them to meet with them.
  5. Now the script carries on, but the following happens one year later.

    Leanne: Look at this friend I met six months ago.

    Natasha: He’s gorgeous, where did you meet him?

    Leanne: I have never seen him. He just found me and added me as a friend.

    Natasha
    : You’ve spent a long time chatting to him.

    Leanne: He’s online now. Let’s speak to him.

    Natasha: Ask him if he has a girlfriend.

    Leanne: (types … pauses … smiles) No, he doesn’t.

    Natasha: He sounds great. Why don’t we meet him?

    Leanne: Great idea.

    Natasha: (types while talking) Can we meet tomorrow (pauses … smiles).

    Leanne and Natasha scream excitedly.

    Leanne: Tomorrow morning at ten in town. I’ll get the bus there instead of to school. Will you come with me?

    Natasha: Of course.

    Freeze.
  6. What decisions has Leanne made? Discuss the children’s responses, making sure you extend their opinions by explaining why.

    Ask children to think of their own endings to the story. Then show the BBC article and say that Leanne and Natasha’s story is a true one which actually happened. They were two of the lucky ones.
  7. Discuss how some people use the internet in order to be befriend and groom young people.

    Don’t think of people you chat to online as being people you know. They are still strangers. People can pretend, and they do pretend.

    The guidelines to follow include:

    Do not give out your home address, phone number or school.
    Do not arrange to meet anyone you talk to online or send them your picture.
    People do not always tell the truth on the internet and are not always who they seem.
    Tell parents or teachers if you get nasty messages.
    The advice for children is to have no more than 30 friends, and they should only accept people they know and trust.

Time for reflection

Light a candle and ask the children to think about all the great things that the internet provides for us.

Now think for a moment of the bad things that can happen if we’re not sensible when online.

Prayer
Help us to protect ourselves from strangers at all times.
Especially on the internet.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Give me oil in my lamp’ (Come and Praise, 43)

Publication date: July 2010   (Vol.12 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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