This afternoon Years 4, 5 and 6 heard Simon, from Gripping Yarns, tell the story of Jordan, a boy who is struggling to build new friendships after moving school following a family separation. For Jordan, the Internet, email and chat and messaging offer an ideal way to keep in touch with old friends and make new friends. He is befriended by an apparently more experienced chat room user, with whom he develops a friendship and with whom he shares personal information and photographs. His trust in his new friend diminishes as he is pressured to allow greater degrees of contact and more personal information. Having taken risks with his online friendship, he is too scared to tell anyone what has happened in case he gets into trouble. He is considering agreeing to his new friend’s requests when a real life friend school friend uses online media to contact him and encourages him to get help from their teacher.
The children sat entranced by the monologue. Every so often Simon would stop the story and ask a question. The children responded by holding up a green card for ‘yes’, a red card for ‘no’ and an orange card for ‘not sure’. At the end, there was a question and answer question.
Internet safety is so important in today’s culture. Gripping Yarns excellently raised thought provoking questions and the use of the cards to respond enabled personal response. I am confident that further questions and discussion will follow in the wake of this afternoon’s production.