I have had an enquiry from our Modern Foreign Languages department regarding any checks or procedures they should implement regarding pen friends. They are hoping to start email correspondence with children in a French school but are not sure what they should be aware of. Anyone got any advice?
Reinforce e-safety messages and encourage children to speak to staff if they have any concerns about the emails they are receiving. Just because somethings will be different (the whole point of your email exchanges) it doesn’t mean that children should believe concerning behaviour is acceptable.
Use a dedicated platform for the communication. E.g. school email addresses if children have them and inform students that this is the method through which they should be communicating. Though we realise that expecting young people to stick to this may be a challenge.
Ensure that parents are informed and encourage them to take an interest in their child’s interactions with their penpal.
Speak to the staff in France about how they safeguard and protect their children. Do they have any tips? Have they run penpal activities before? Did they have any issues?
Ultimately we think that the same messages that we give children about any form of online interaction would apply in these circumstances.
Does anyone else have any suggestions to add to the list? Has anyone had any safeguarding issues with penpals?