Using The Internet For Positive Change

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We were really excited when Plusnet got in touch with us about their latest campaign and were delighted to be asked to get involved. The boys are growing up with technology and I feel it important to show them how much of a change they can make in the world using it – rather than just using it to play Fortnite and Fifa!

Plusnet teamed up with the Scouts in order to look at various problems facing this generation and use technology to ind ways of helping. They carried out a survey of young people which found that

  • 65% felt that plastic pollution was the biggest problem affecting the environment today
  • 45% said that online bullying was the biggest cause of mental health issues in young people
  • 56% felt a lack of support and understanding from society was the biggest issue facing people living with hidden disabilities

We were given a list of topics to consider which included:

  • Protectimg the emvironment (with WWF)
  • Ending homelessness (with Crisis)
  • Supporting reugess and displaced children (with Save The Children)
  • Better mental health for all (with Mind)
  • Understanding disability (with National Autistic Society)
  • Kindness in every community (with British Red Cross)

Plusnet sent us a lovely package to help us get thinking about the little things we can do to help which included a book by Greta Thunberg which Leo snapped up to read, a reusable travel mug, a personalised canvas shopping bag and a Kano ‘Make Your Own Computer Kit’.

Riley jumped at the chance to make a computer. Luckily for me (a self-confessed technophobe) , the kit was really simple to follow and taught me as well as Riley some basic coding skills. Clearly, I was much too slow for him as he and Ste took over and by the end of the day they had created a game! Riley had even managed to code it so that he had a better chance of winning which was amazing! I try and limit the boy’s screen time for obvious reasons, but this really got his brain thinking while he was using it.

Me and Leo sat down and got thinking about the topics we had been presented with. Riley had an idea that supermarkets who offer online shopping to their customers could have a trolley which people could add some bits to while doing their own online shop, which could then be taken to the nearest homeless shelter. He was very concerned with people not being able to eat. I thought this was a fantastic idea and we have often seen the physical trolley our local Asda store has to fill up, but this would also incorporate the online shoppers.

Leo wanted to tackle the environmental issues we face as it is something he has done quite a lot of work on recently and is very interested in. He ha an idea that would reward children for walking, cycling or scootering to school, rater than going in a car. He said his school was supposed to give out tokens but they never did it. He suggested that every child travelling to school this way should get a token and the class with the largest number at the end of the week would get a treat, for example an extra play time, a movie afternoon in class or similar.

He used my PC to create a poster to advertise this and soon realised the other benefits his plan had – such as increasing fitness and exercise levels in children. He planned to hand the poster to his headteacher, but then got even more excited as he thought he could start sending it to other schools all over the country. Another idea he had to get his message out there was to use popular YouTubers. Both of the boys enjoy watching channels which have gaming, football and kid themed content. He said that if these YouTubers were to share his poster and promote his idea, that lots of young people would listen to it and hopefully try it. I was really proud of him for thinking of some fantastic ways to get his idea into the public eye and it was great to see his passion for it.

I loved the enthusiasm the boys showed for this project and what they learnt from it. You can download a Hack at Home pack from the Plusnet website and see some of the great ideas the Scouts came up with here.

The Kano computer kit we were sent was absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend it if you have technically minded kids who are interested in coding. It really is such a great introduction to the whole subject and walks you through each step with really clear and easy to understand instructions. Check out whee to purchase these kits here.

I want to say a massive thank you to Plusnet for involving us in their project – it really has inspired the boys into thinking about ways they can try and make changes in areas which really interest them. I would love to hear if you check out the downloadable pack and what things your children come up with using technology to help. Let me know in the comments what they are!

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