Primary school develops unique social network for pupils

A Wigan school has designed its own safe social network for staff and students

school kids

A primary school in Wigan has introduced a social media website designed to protect pupils from the darker side of the internet.

Britannia Bridge Primary School, joining with a number of other local junior schools, has created a site dedicated to teaching its pupils how to use the internet safely. "The Bridge" as it is called, is a form of social network designed to only allow students and teachers access.

The new site is groundbreaking enough, according to the team of teachers behind the project, that it will form the basis for others being created across the country:

"What's perfect about The Bridge' is that it is not just an idea. It's here now, it's working in Wigan schools and, from today, primary school children across the country can benefit from this innovative approach," said Damon Donaldson, headteacher at Britannia Bridge.

Children on The Bridge learn "the essential skills and knowledge to become safe online communicators"; a mistake by a pupil while using the social media is a cause to learn, rather than a risk to their personal safety.

Maria Temel, head of IT at the school, said: "We had lots of negative issues in school arising from children's misuse of social media ... when we looked into it there was nothing out there to help us, so we decided to build our own school safe social networking site"

The network is monitored by the staff and every interaction made by the pupils is recorded in chat logs so that any problems can be easily addressed.

"The bridge isn't like software from large companies, it's developed by schools for schools," said Taner Temel, designer of The Bridge. "It's professionally supported and hosted; straightforward, powerful and affordable."

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