Social, Emotional Mental Health (SEMH)

Advice by age 7 to 11

This SEND Index of Harms resource is for CYP with Social, Emotional and Mental Health need. It is broken down by the strands from the Education for a Connected World Framework.

Self-image and identity

This strand explores the differences between online and offline identity beginning with self-awareness, shaping online identities and media influence in propagating stereotypes. It identifies effective routes for reporting and support and explores the impact of online technologies on self-image and behaviour

Likely Harm: Impact of technology on self-image and identity

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP unable to understand ‘identity’, eager ‘to please’ and with low self-worth
  • CYP may be reluctant to share, withdrawn and have difficulties forming relationships
  • Need to feel loved and safe, may struggle to control emotions, could be overly aggressive (verbally) and may self-harm
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • CYP with cognitive disability may be easily deceived
  • CYP with cognitive disability may be eager to be a part of online activities such as games without spotting danger signs
  • Parents/carers may see the development of online skills as progress towards independence thus leaving CYP unsupervised and open to harmful content
  • CYP may not be as adept or skilled as peers during online games and therefore suffer diminished self-esteem
  • CYP’s sense of self-worth may be severely impaired causing them to be vulnerable to a range of possible harms

Possible responses

  • Role play scenarios
  • Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire.
  • Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP)
  • Learning about how to use social media platforms
  • Parent/carer workshops focusing online harms and striking a balance between encouraging independence and protecting from harms
  • Frequent targeted activities to build CYP’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem

Online relationships

This strand explores how technology shapes communication styles and identifies strategies for positive relationships in online communities. It offers opportunities to discuss relationships, respecting, giving and denying consent and behaviours that may lead to harm and how positive online interaction can empower and amplify voice.

Likely Harm: Relationships, consent and behaviours leading to harm

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP may be; reluctant to share concerns, withdrawn/isolated, cover up dangers, erratic and emotionally volatile, self-harming
  • Choices may be lad by a desire to please. Low self-worth may lead to sharing inappropriate material
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • Choices may lead the CYP to become violent or aggressive online
  • CYP may find it difficult to attract and engage online peers because they are not ‘cool’ or skilled
  • CYP may not appreciate that online content can be shared broadly and used against them

Possible responses

  • ELSA intervention programme
  • Learning about sharing images, online gaming, online content
  • Stories about staying safe online
  • Educate parents/carer on nude images
  • Create small friendship groups outside of the online world using buddy systems
  • Lessons focusing on the spread of contacts

Online reputation

This strand explores the concept of reputation and how others may use online information to make judgements. It offers opportunities to develop strategies to manage personal digital content effectively and capitalise on technology’s capacity to create effective positive profiles.

Likely Harm: Others may use your online reputation to make judgements about you

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP may have unclear boundaries about language use, may be aggressive, abusive, coercive and be vulnerable to judgements made online
  • Impulsive, attention-seeking behaviour can give rise to hits, or likes, for attention, or inappropriate responses and risks to digital personality and reputation
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • CYP may not be able to discern between a digital person and a real person
  • CYP may have a negative reputation due to the challenges they have faced

Possible responses

  • Learning about online behaviours
  • Anger management or counselling sessions
  • Focused work on ‘Real People and Toys/Pretend Play’
  • Support programme in place to develop positive reputation for CYP

Online bullying

This strand explores bullying and other online aggression and how technology impacts those issues. It offers strategies for effective reporting and intervention and considers how bullying and other aggressive behaviour relates to legislation.

Likely Harm: Bullying and aggression can harm others

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP may display; depression, phobic anxiety, paranoia, self-isolation, self-harm, aggressive behaviour – physical and/or verbal, psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, sleep deprivation
  • Difficult to recognise bullying and how this is different on and offline
  • Low self-esteem impacts on relationship building and can override any care towards harmful online comments
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma.
  • May themselves use platforms to bully others.
  • CYP may not appreciate that their online activity is perceived by others as bullying
  • CYP may not identify what they are experiencing online as bullying because it is not physically present. They may not report it and therefore end it or receive support
  • CYP may be coerced into bullying others online in order to secure approval from dominant individuals

Possible responses

  • Anger management counselling
  • Self-soothe techniques
  • Positive self-image
  • ELSA support intervention
  • Parent/carer support
  • Stories and role play
  • Focused lessons on reporting anything which makes the CYP feel sad, uncomfortable or frightened
  • Focused activities developing CYP’s resilience to being manipulated by others.

Managing Online Information

This strand explores how online information is found, viewed and interpreted. It offers strategies for effective searching, critical evaluation of data, the recognition of risks and the management of online threats and challenges. It explores how online threats can pose risks to our physical safety as well as online safety. It also covers learning relevant to ethical publishing

Likely Harm: Online information can be found, viewed and interpreted

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Difficulties with interpersonal relationships affect understanding of influences, manipulation and persuasion
  • Low levels of self-esteem and resilience cloud ability to discriminate between true and false information (fake news)
  • CYP may not realise that their ‘history’ leaves a trail of their online activity
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • CYP may be scared to search for information online due to previous adverse experiences

Possible responses

  • Learning about online behaviours
  • Lego therapy for anger issues
  • Self-soothe and regulatory activities
  • Focused activities on the permanence of online activities
  • Desensitise CYP to searching for information by scaffolding opportunities to search for motivating and enjoyable subjects

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle

This strand explores the impact that technology has on health, well-being and lifestyle e.g. mood, sleep, body health and relationships. It also includes understanding negative behaviours and issues amplified and sustained by online technologies and the strategies for dealing with them

Likely Harm: Technology can impact on mood, sleep, body health and relationships

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP may display impulsivity, anxiety, low mood that may affect ability to regulate safe use of technology
  • Poor attachment with key adults may leave CYP more vulnerable to exploitation online ( e.g. payment for apps/parental warnings/pressures)
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • CYP may not be able to discriminate between advertising and advice
  • CYP may retreat into online activities as a safe haven leading to problems around inactivity and health

Possible responses

  • Learning about online behaviours
  • Focused activities on persuasion through advertising
  • CYP encouraged to develop a range of activities and routines

Privacy and security

This strand explores how personal online information can be used, stored, processed and shared. It offers both behavioural and technical strategies to limit impact on privacy and protect data and systems against compromise.

Likely Harm: Personal information can be stored, used and shared which can lead to harm

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Short-term memory difficulties, impulsivity, hyperactivity make it difficult to remember passwords
  • Poor attachment and fear of trusted adults make it difficult to share information safely
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • Self-esteem and desire to please can lead to over sharing of key information (address, name, contact details)
  • CYP’s passwords may be predictable
  • CYP may be coerced into sharing private information

Possible responses

  • Support from key adult; privacy check, monitor usage, monitor sharing of information
  • Learning about privacy and security
  • Guidance about mental health, wellbeing and self-harm
  • Teach CYP rules for devising strong passwords
  • Activities focused on CYP reporting any coercion

Copyright and ownership

This strand explores the concept of ownership of online content. It explores strategies for protecting personal content and crediting the rights of others as well as addressing potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution

Likely Harm: Potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution of content

Behaviours/Indicators

  • SEMH difficulties (hyperactivity, attachment, impulsivity, low self-esteem) make it difficult to understand permission of online information
  • Adversity gives rise to possible over-reliance upon technology, leading to increased risk of grooming, online attention and corresponding trauma
  • CYP may have poorly developed sense of ownership and use other people’s online content

Possible responses

  • Key trusted adult to ensure who can see CYP’s information and give advise
  • Activities focused on attributing and praising others’ work

Useful resources

See our list of useful resources for further support.

Inclusive digital safety resources

Professional Online Safety Helpline

Over 13 – Report Harmful Content Professional Online Safety Helpline

Project Envolve

Childnet Star resource

Advice by Age

Use our list of practical tips to help children have a safer online experience and get the best out of the digital world as they grow.

Making the internet safer and more inclusive

Together with SWGfL we've created this hub to provide online safety advice and gudience to support parents & professionals working with children and young people experiencing vulnerabilities

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