Northern start-up launches safe social media platform as children spend more time online at home

17th April 2020

A brand new safe and educational social media platform has been launched today to support teachers and pupils amidst school closures.

  • Natterhub lets children learn about social media and screen use, whilst sharing posts, pictures and comments in a safe environment
  • Co-Founders launched business early and made platform free amid warnings of increased risks for children online during school closures
  • Based in Sheffield, Natterhub is part of the business accelerator, TwinklHive

A brand new safe and educational social media platform has been launched today to support teachers and pupils amidst school closures.

Based in Sheffield, Natterhub released the interactive platform a month earlier than planned and made it available for free, recognising how it could be used to help children stay safe online during school closures.

Natterhub LogoThe specially designed learning platform and framework has been created for teachers to share with pupils. Originally created to be used in the classroom, co-founders Manjit Sareen and Caroline Allams have now made alterations to make it ideal for home-use too and available for free to support teachers, parents and carers.

“As children are at home, they are inevitably spending more time online”, explained Manjit Sareen, Co-Founder and CEO of Natterhub and a parent of two young boys, “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the internet offers valuable learning opportunities as well as entertainment.

“But with this, there are also increased risks for children, especially for those who do not have the necessary guidance and education as they may be vulnerable to inappropriate information or cyberbullying. Sadly, we do expect to see an increase in the number of children being targeted online during this time. It was clear to us that whatever the challenges, now was the right time for us to launch.”

Natterhub was the first start-up company to join TwinklHive, a business accelerator for emerging start-ups that was launched in Sheffield by the global publisher Twinkl at the end of last year. By providing support to EdTech start-ups, TwinklHive brings together emerging companies set to transform areas of education and make a difference to the lives of teachers and pupils.

Created for children aged 5 to 11, Natterhub enables teachers to create a safe online community for their pupils and empowers them with a complete scheme of work to develop children’s understanding of the internet. This includes online safety and media literacy
lessons for Years 1 to 6. As an interactive platform, Natterhub looks and feels like a real social media site and uses a ‘role-modelling’ technique, which teaches by example as children learn through imitation.

Natterhub recently conducted a survey about the amount of time children are spending online during the school closures. When asked, out of 765 parents, a third revealed their children were spending 3-4 hours online a day, whilst 55% said their children were spending 1-2 hours on the internet. Out of everyone surveyed, 26 parents said their children were spending over 7 hours online a day.

Caroline Allams, Co-Founder and CCO of Natterhub, and a former Assistant Headteacher said: “We know that the internet is a really vital tool for everyone at the moment and a way for children to stay connected to the world and each other. However, the results of this survey do illustrate just how much time children are spending online and we need to be mindful of this.

“We don’t want people to be afraid to use the internet, but we do want them to have a safe space to learn so that they can thrive online. It is not enough for children just to be safe, they need to know how to navigate their online lives and be aware, savvy, and sceptical about what they read.”

Schools and teachers can visit natterhub.com now to sign up now for a free account. They will then be guided to set up log-ins for parents and pupils. If parents would like their child’s teacher or school to sign-up they can recommend them by visiting www.natterhub.com/refer.

To ensure security, teachers need to enable the hub to be active for login and pupils have a daily allowance of time to use Natterhub to avoid them spending too much time on screen. No payment details are taken at any point and the hub is open for teachers, parents and children to use at any time.

For more information about Natterhub, please visit natterhub.com

Moreinformation about TwinklHive can be found at https://www.twinkl.co.uk/hive

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