Digital Wellbeing and Safeguarding Conference
  • Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University

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This one day regional conference welcomes nationally renowned experts in the field of digital wellbeing and safeguarding, and an opportunity to hear Lorin LaFave, mother of Breck Bednar, give her personal account of online grooming.

There will be four keynote addresses followed by workshops and seminar discussions in the afternoon. The Welcome Address will be given by Professor Trish Livsey, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Plymouth University.


  • Digital safeguarding: the impact of technology on the safeguarding landscape (Ken Corish, UK Safer Internet Centre)
  • Digital wellbeing: a 'safer online life' through a 'better online life' (Vicki Green, UK Safer Internet Centre)
  • Understanding digital issues through discourse with young people (Professor Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT, Plymouth University)
  • The Breck Bednar Foundation, speaker: Lorin LaFave (Breck Bednar's mother), as recently seen on BBC3's 'Murder Games: The Life and Death of Breck Bednar' 

The conference will close with an address and the issuing of CPD certificates by Di Galpin, Academic Lead for Social Work, Plymouth University.

Conference cost: £25 per person (including mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments). 

Contact for further information.

Cornwall County Council

Cornwall County Council is proud to be supporting this conference. Our mission is to help and protect the most vulnerable children and young people from significant harm. This conference serves to highlight the growth of Safeguarding concerns within the digital world. The impact of cybercrime and internet grooming is an issue of utmost importance to us. Cornwall’s commitment is to deliver a service that we and those we serve can be proud of, which promotes positive outcomes for vulnerable children and which reduces the risk of harm. By supporting this conference we aim to develop knowledge and learning which will support us in our aim and help protect the most vulnerable.

News release: Conference to educate in digital safety and wellbeing (26 April 2016)

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Today's events

Speaker abstract: Ken Corish

Digital Safeguarding: the impact of technology on the safeguarding landscape

As technology becomes increasingly interwoven into our lives it also becomes threaded through many of the safeguarding issues with which children’s professionals deal. CSE; sexual predation; radicalisation and extremism; self-harm; many of these issues have components where technology is a vehicle or catalyst. How do we shape the right approaches to ensuring that online safety becomes more than a Safer Internet Day activity and how do we incorporate these elements more effectively into the wider safeguarding ecosystem?

This keynote will address:

  • Current trends and approaches to online safety
  • The legislative drivers to affect change
  • Features of effective practice for children’s settings and organisations
  • Creating an online safeguarding culture.

Speaker abstract: Vicki Green

Digital Wellbeing: a "safer online life" through a "better online life"

Online safety culture is changing. Legacy messages that focused on "shock and awe" over the last several years are gradually being replaced. Empowerment rather than blocking: resilience rather than over-zealous intervention. Behaviour education and building the progression from the self to the impact of behaviour on immediate peers through to wider society, is an approach that resonates with young users of technology. How do we encourage that culture and how do we inform our own use of technology and the impact that has on modelling behaviour for the children in our care?

This keynote addresses:

  • Historical review of the online safety journey
  • What is Digital Wellbeing?
  • Current trends and cases
  • Latest behavioural research
  • Education interventions
  • Features of an effective online safety education programme.

Biography: Ken Corish

Ken is Online Safety Director and SMT member with South West Grid for Learning Trust drawing on 20 years as a teacher and school leader and ten years as a BECTA award-winning Education Adviser with Plymouth’s ICT Team.

Ken’s broad canvas of experience and engaging presentation style has seen him work with a wide range of educators and agencies. He has trained all Education, Social Care and Early Years HMIs in aspects of online safeguarding and is responsible for shaping inspectors briefing sheets and training in online safety.

He developed and wrote the multi award-winning 360 degree safe online safety self-review tool and Online Compass tool. Along with fellow director, David Wright, he also created the BETT award-winning BOOST toolset for children’s settings. He works with a broad range of national and international organisations and has spoken at global conferences in the Middle East, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Greece, Spain, Estonia, Europe and the US.

Biography: Vicki Green

Vicki is a registered social worker with over 25 years’ experience of working in the field of child protection. The majority of her Social Work career has been working within local authority children’s social care and the LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children Board). She has a wide range of experience at both operational and strategic level and has been a frontline worker, manager, principal social worker and Safeguarding Children Board development and strategic manager. 

Vicki has a strong working knowledge of what constitutes excellent safeguarding children practice across the whole spectrum of partners delivering services to children including health, social care, police, youth and early intervention services. She has worked with teams of managers at both an operational and strategic level to improve services and measure the impact of improvement interventions, looking at the whole system from referral and assessment through to supervision.

As an Independent Safeguarding Children Consultant, Vicki designs and delivers training to a wide range of professional groups. She has a particular expertise in child assessment and works with professionals to enhance their assessment and intervention skills particularly in the context of the digital world children and families are living in today.

Biography: Professor Andy Phippen

Andy is a professor of social responsibility in information technology at the University of Plymouth. He has worked with the ethical and social responsibility, and how technology impacts in the social world, with companies such as British Telecom, Google and Facebook. In the last ten years he has specialised in the use of ICTs by children and young people, carrying out a large amount of grass roots research on issues such as sexting, pornography, cyberbullying and online harassment. 

He is a research partner with the UK Safer Internet Centre and is a frequent media commentator on children and the Internet.

Conference workshop speaker biographies

Diane Wills is currently an independent practitioner specialising in working with men who sexually offend. She is a trustee of Circles Southwest, a practice educator and associate lecturer with Plymouth University; and a researcher currently studying for her PhD into sexual offending. 

Andy Wills is a lecturer in social work at Plymouth University with a PhD in approaches to risk assessment of people who re-offend seriously, having previously worked in a number of settings including risk assessing and working with people who offend sexually.

Jenny Harris is a qualified social worker and has worked for Devon County Council since 2010. Prior to this, Jenny worked for Solihull Children’s Services. For the last three years she have been part of Devon’s REACH Team (Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Service), working directly with young people who have been identified as being at high risk of CSE, which includes those at risk of online sexual exploitation.

Margaret Jelley is a qualified social worker with over 25 years of practice experience, mainly within adult social care. Margaret has a masters degree in social work and currently works as a practice educator and lecturer on the BA (Hons) Social Work degree at Plymouth University.

Sharon Soper is a Lecturer and Practice Educator at Plymouth University on the Social Work degree. Sharon has particular interests in online child safety and is part of the Local Safeguarding Board subgroup for Plymouth as well as developing Digital Wellbeing into the Social Work curriculum. Sharon is also a practitioner for the Plymouth Excellence Cluster working with schools, children and families.

Clare Pettinger RD RNutr (Public Health) has been a lecturer in public health dietetics at Plymouth University since 2005. As well as being actively engaged in various food/wellbeing research projects, she is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy with a keen interest in enhancing student learning experiences. 

In 2014, Clare and a colleague (Chris Barber) successfully won £19K (Jan 2014) to lead an Inclusivity Development (ID) project, to create an 'interactive toolkit' for supporting health profession students with Specific Learning Difficulties on placement, which has led to the creation of a digital application prototype, which is currently being user tested by students.

Christopher Barber, a Podiatry lecturer, has been working at Plymouth University since 2012. As well as collaboratively gaining funding for the ID project of which he resumed responsibility of lead researcher, he is heavily involved in pedagogical research in collaboration with other colleagues throughout the University. He has recently been awarded a “SStar" nomination for 'Inspirational Teaching' and continues to work with Dr Clare Pettinger on the interactive toolkit project. He is piloting the prototype as part of his MA dissertation at present.

Ray Jones is Professor of Health Informatics in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Plymouth University. He leads a programme of research focused mainly on the implementation and evaluation of e-health. One focus of this work is how nursing students can engage with patients and the public online both for the education of the students and the benefit of patient groups online. He comes from a background of public health and informatics and other current projects include work with care homes and with patients at end of life using video calls and studies of how to address e-health inequalities.

Pam Nelmes is a registered nurse working in higher education who leads the Urgent and Emergency Care BSc and a full time intercalated pathway. Pam’s clinical experience includes critical/intensive care and her lecturer portfolio includes emergency care, critical care, adult nursing and paramedic practice. Particular interests include patient involvement in decision making, professional use of social networking (to promote socially connected curricula), leadership, health informatics, health innovation and curriculum enrichment to enhance the student experience. Pam has actively promoted use of social media within Plymouth University's School of Nursing and Midwifery since 2009 and can be found on Twitter @pam007nelmes.

Event photography and video
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