To raise online awareness.
by Helen Redfern
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To raise online awareness.
Preparation and materials
- This assembly is based on an experience of Club Penguin, so any images, posters, books or characters from the ‘world’ would make great props.
- The best website for use by children and teachers is www.thinkuknow.co.uk.
- David is a normal nine-year-old boy just like many of you here. This is his story.
David was shy. He found it hard to make friends. He played with one or two mates at breaktime, but mostly he kept himself to himself.
When David got home, however, and switched the computer on, he was a completely different child. He was Mr Popular. He was always surrounded by friends. He looked cool. He was full of confidence. He said cool things and everyone loved him. He was a penguin.
When David was waddling around the penguin worlds, he was a hundred per cent happy. He loved dressing his penguin in cool clothes and giving him cool hairstyles. He loved chatting to all the penguin pals he had made. Most of all, he loved looking for Catrice, the prettiest, funniest penguin in the whole of the land. When he found her, his joy was complete. She thought he was cool. She thought he was funny. She thought he was the best penguin of all.
‘David! Charlie is at the door asking if you want to play out,’ his mum would call.
‘I can’t, Mum, I’m in the middle of a game and need to earn more coins. Tell him to come back later.’
‘David! Come on! It’s time to get ready for your swimming lesson,’ his mum would say.
‘Mum, I really don’t want to go today. Catrice has just come online and I haven’t spoken to her in three days.’
‘David! Come to the table. It’s teatime and I’ve made your favourite,’ his mum would tell him.
‘Wait. I’ll come later. Everyone’s saying that Rockhopper is about to appear and I don’t want to miss it.’
- David’s mum loved him very much and was becoming worried about him. Can you see why? (Invite suggestions from the children.)
– He was sacrificing real friendships for online friendships.
– He was giving up his own activities to be able to spend more time online.
– He was neglecting his physical needs for his online enjoyment.
- So one day David’s mum got him out of the house and took him to McDonalds. She sat him down at the table with his Happy Meal and started to talk. David was enjoying his cheeseburger and chips too much to interrupt, so he listened to what she had to say.
‘David, I’m worried about you. When was the last time you played with Charlie after school? When was the last time you kicked a football around? When was the last time you made a model out of Lego?
‘I can see that being with your penguin pals makes you happy. But your penguin is nothing like you are in real life. You lie to your penguin pals about how old you are in real life. You make up stories about what you have got up to in real life. Don’t you see that all the other penguins are probably making up stories too? These penguins are no more real than your penguin is. Catrice may not be anything like you think she is.
‘I know that you enjoy being online more than anything else in life. But there are other things in life that are really important. Eating is important. Sleeping is important. Exercise is important. Learning is important.
‘David, I’m not asking you to stop spending time with your penguin pals. I just want you to think about spending a bit less time online caring for your penguin and a bit more time in the real world caring for the real David.’
- David finished his meal and drink in silence, then stood up and said, ‘Can we go home now?’
What do you imagine David was feeling?
What do you imagine David was thinking?
What do you imagine David will do now?
(Invite suggestions from the children.)
- We don’t know how the story ends. We don’t know how David responds to all that his mum has said. We do know that this story takes place in many homes in our community.
Maybe this story is taking place right now in your home.
Maybe you are a lot like David.
Time for reflection
(Light a candle and pause.)
Let us reflect on what we have heard today as we listen to the words of this meditation.
I can be who I want online.
I can be cool. I can be popular. I can be confident.
The online me is so much better than the real me.
But who will I be when the computer is switched off?
How will I recognize the real me?
Who will know me, accept me and like me as I really am?
I can meet who I want online.
I can choose cool friends, funny friends, friends who make me feel good about myself.
My online friends are so much better than my real friends.
But who will be with me when the computer is switched off?
Who will give me a hug when I feel sad?
Who will laugh with me, play with me, talk with me?
I can go where I want online.
I can have fun. I can visit exciting places. I can escape.
The online world is so much better than the real world.
But where will I go when the computer is switched off?
How will I find my place in the real world?
How will I know where to go, what to do, how to have fun?
As we leave this assembly today,
let us all find the balance between the real and the imaginary;
let us all discover the best of both worlds;
let us all live our lives to the full.
‘There’s a child in the streets’ (Come and Praise, 27)