Protecting your online gaming reputation

By Darren O’Brien, Digital Security Hub (DiSH). October 2023

In December 2022, Ecosystem Manager of Manchester’s Digital Security Hub (DiSH) Darren O'Brien reached out to Barclays Digital Eagle colleague Kev Garner to explore the idea of upskilling 10- and 11-year-olds across the Greater Manchester (GM) area.

We wanted to create some content to upskill primary school students aged 10 and 11 across the Greater Manchester area. The overarching theme was cyber, and we settled on online gaming as we felt this was an area where we could provide something valuable and engage our intended audience.

We suggested an initiative that Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) could pilot exclusively across GM, titled "Protecting your online gaming reputation". It was agreed that this would be a virtual session lasting 45 minutes, educating young gamers on the do's and don'ts of gaming online.

We designed brand new content including the creation of some real-life scenarios and the potential risks that children may experience when playing games online. We also wanted to ensure the children had an opportunity to reflect on their own actions online, to do this we were keen to look at some best practices for using social media and how this can impact someone’s online reputation.

However, we still had our doubts as to whether pupils would show up, and would members of staff and students and feel the session had provided them with valuable insights and expertise?

In mid-December DiSH contacted 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester inviting them to take part in the virtual session(s) starting from mid-January.  We secured 33 individual registrations, from 22 different schools across seven boroughs.

The workshop was a success, educating over 700 10- & 11-year-olds and the feedback from both teachers and pupils was extremely positive. We also received valuable suggestions on how we could improve future sessions, enrich the content, and better engage the students.

We regrouped for a de-brief to discuss the merits of the virtual session and what we could improve if we were to do it again. From these discussions, it became apparent very quickly that there was scope to run this type of session again and reach more schools in the Greater Manchester area. There are currently over 1000 primary schools across the GM area.

As we headed into the summer term, in mid-June, DiSH welcomed 102 further classes to virtual workshops, with representation from all 10 local authorities and over 70 primary schools. This time the workshops were responsible for upskilling nearly 3,000 children.

Since the start of the year, DiSH has provided valuable online safety knowledge to over 3,500 10- & 11-year-olds, in close to 100 primary schools, equating to 10% of all primaries in the GM area.

Visit the website to find out more on DiSH (external website).

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