I am a former police officer who, after spending six years working on an Internet Child Abuse team, began to focus on preventative and education work around online issues. 9 years of secondment with the South West Grid for Learning and UK Safer Internet Centre has enabled me to further my knowledge and expertise. Giving me the ability to present to a broader sweep of agencies including education, fostering and adoption agencies, businesses and other public and private organisations.
During my period with UKSIC/SWGfL I was lucky enough to work with a great team and speak at conferences Nationally and Internationally as far away as Singapore, Africa and a number of European destinations. I have also had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of such online tools as 360safe a now nationally recognised award winning tool for online safety support in schools across the UK (and adapted for other countries).
Working in schools especially has offered the opportunity to talk with, and learn from, many children of different ages. Applying a real understanding of their issues in a pragmatic way to then engage and help professionals and parents understand how best to tackle issues is one of my aims. I fully support the aims of AACOSS in building an organisation that supports and recognises online safety consultants who understand the balance to be achieved and can evidence this. Maintaining a standard is important in a media driven environment where balance is often lost and focus is entirely on the bad. Telling young people the internet is bad achieves nothing, building their resilience and understanding through honest dialogue does.
My work with online sex offenders has allowed me to understand the real and present dangers the web can offer. I am of the opinion however that this should not cloud the greater conversations on the myriad of different issues the internet brings. There needs to be a balance on the positives as well as including the threats/harms and I look forward to sharing good practice work with like minded colleagues.