Ash-wayne Morrison, a Flow Foundation Student Ambassador who attends Galina Primary and Infant School in St Mary, is diligent in his advocacy of safer internet habits among his peers and family members. The youngster was one of several students who participated in the Flow Foundation’s Connected & Protected Online Safety Student Ambassador programme held at the school earlier this year.
Ash-wayne shared that he is the “go-to” person for both friends and family for safe online activity. He has helped to secure his mother’s email account and provides guidance when his friends fall victim to online threats. Ash-wayne says he recognises the value of practicing online safety and encourages everyone to be equally protective of their data.
"One of the things in the programme that stood out for me was how important it is to protect your personal information while online because you can be bullied or lose your accounts. One of my friends was not so careful and I helped him to change his email password," Ash-wayne shared.
“I tell my friends to come to me first and let me check to see if the links are good as I have an app on my phone that can verify the websites,” he continued.
Dahlia Thompson, Principal, Galina Primary and Infant School, pointed out that Ash-wayne is a great example of how the Connected & Protected programme can strongly impact one person, who then goes on to inspire others.
“I am happy for this intervention by the Flow Foundation. Our students now spend so much time online for both schoolwork and their socializing and they are clueless as to the dangers that they face. As educators, we want our children to be knowledgeable and skilled while using the internet as there are so many opportunities to be had in that space,” said Thompson.
Speaking to Ash-wayne’s leadership and impact, she continued, “Ash-wayne is a very polite and intelligent boy who does his best. I am not surprised that he is one of the ambassadors for this programme and I am confident that he will continue to excel in his role because he is smart and observant.”
Flow’s Public Relations Manager, LeVaughn Flynn, said the Foundation was happy with the impact that the Connected & Protected Online Safety Student Ambassador programme was having.
“Our children are one of the most vulnerable groups to online threats. Because they spend so much time online, oftentimes without supervision, the predators have more opportunities to approach and engage them. It is important that we give our children the knowledge to be able to identify these threats and protect themselves,” Flynn shared.
Flynn further pointed out that peer influence is one of the best ways to promote online safety.
“It is important that we do not underestimate the influence of peers and friendship. In fact, we have recognised through our engagement with students in various schools that they will confide in their friends rather than the adults around them. It is this relationship that we are leveraging to advance our mission of safer internet habits among students,” said Flynn. “I was very impressed with Ash-wayne’s commitment to his role as an ambassador, particularly as he not only brought the message to his peers but to his family members as well. This augurs well for our youths as they become more knowledgeable about online threats.”
Ash-wayne added that internet safety has become a way of life for him, and he intends to continue sharing his knowledge with friends and family when he advances to high school.
"I want my friends and family to be more careful when they are using the internet on their phones,” he stated. “They have to be careful about the links they are clicking because that is how their personal information is shared and their devices get infected with viruses.”
Up to 2019, the Flow Foundation had over 600 Online Safety Ambassadors spanning several primary schools across the country. The programme which was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic was relaunched in March as part of the organisation’s year-long focus on safer internet practices through its Connected & Protected programme. The sessions focus on increasing the awareness of online threats, online safety best practices and where to get help. This is followed by an assessment after which successful students are appointed as online safety ambassadors and become key peer resources in their respective institutions.