The internet now plays a powerful role in a child’s education but it can also bring risks. New government guidelines, which come into force in September 2016, highlight the risks of cyber bullying, pornography and radicalisation and the need for schools and colleges to have the appropriate measures in place to address the problem.
Online risks are real
Recent studies have highlighted that these risks are very real:
- 1 in 3 childrenhave been a victim of cyberbullying (source: McAfee survey of children and parents as reported in the Guardian (14 November 2014) “Number of children who are victims of cyberbullying doubles in a year”.)
- Almost 1 in 4 young people have come across racist or hate messages online (Source: Livingstone, S. (2014) Net children go mobile: the UK report: a comparative report with findings from the UK 2010 survey by EU Kids Online.)
- There were 7,296 counselling sessions with young people who talked to ChildLine about online bullying and safety last year (source: NSPCC (2015) “Always there when I need you”: ChildLine review: what’s affected children in April 2014 - March 2015.)
- 465 contacts to ChildLine in 2014/15 mentioned grooming – over 80% of these were specifically related to online grooming (NSPCC, 2015)
To highlight the risks and educate schools about the dangers, Entrust carried out their own survey with c.800 key stage two pupils about how they use the internet. The key findings of the survey included:
- 57% of children surveyed said they use the internet every day.
- 23% of children use the internet more than four hours a day.
- 41% of children surveyed said they use the internet in their bedroom.
- 15% of children surveyed said they had been threatened, insulted or harassed whilst using the internet.
- 26% of children surveyed said they had made friends with people online that they had never met before.
- 6% of children surveyed said they had met, face-to-face, with someone they made friends with online without telling a friend or family member.
Three Key Steps to Keep Children Safe Online
Capita’s education services, Link2ICT and Entrust, are working together to challenge traditional ways of managing safeguarding concerns in our schools.
From monitoring the online activity of pupils, to educating teachers about the latest risks, Entrust and Link2ICT are on hand to ensure innovative, efficient and effective processes are put in place that equip schools to protect children in this digital age.
Step One - Monitoring Online Activity
In response to the government proposals for schools to have appropriate filters and monitoring systems, Link2ICT have launched a brand new monitoring service. http://www.link2ict.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-services/monitoring-service
Monitoring online activity is a time-consuming task for schools and one where attention to detail is essential. Every single word typed by a child or young person could lead to a safeguarding concern. Link2ICT monitors all online activity on behalf of schools, saving them time and providing them with a thorough and proven process for online monitoring.
Schools using the service receive regular reports that are assessed according to the level of risk in line with guidance from Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, NSPCC, Internet Watch Foundation and British Standards Institute Specification PAS 74: Internet Safety - Access control systems for the protection of children online.
The types of concerns flagged each month by the monitoring service include:
Step Two - Managing Safeguarding Concerns
Link2ICT also supports schools to manage their safeguarding concerns by implementing a simple to use, safe and secure piece of software called MyConcern.
MyConcern enables all staff to record any safeguarding concern, g ensuring that a proper record has been made and that their designated safeguarding lead has been automatically notified. Thesafeguarding lead can then assess each concern and manage any ongoing action that needs to be taken.
“MyConcern has been implemented very successfully at Woodcroft. The duration of our first safeguarding review meeting was halved using the new system. If projected across the year, it would represent significant productivity savings. In addition to the improved safeguarding management and peace of mind that MyConcern brings, the software effectively pays for itself!”
Mr Tallon, Headteacher, Woodcroft Primary School in Barnet
Step Three - Educating Teachers, Pupils and Parents
Entrust believes that schools play a vital role in keeping children safe from harm online, including from the risks of radicalisation and cyber bullying.
Entrust Curriculum Consultants are supporting schools to facilitate this key role to ensure young people know how to use the internet responsibly and that parents and teachers have the right measures in place to keep children safe.
Entrust works with schools to:
- Support the development of their strategic vision in regards to online safety.
- Review school infrastructure and identify areas for improvement.
- Run information and training sessions for governors, teachers, pupils and parents.
- Develop the curriculum to include online safety and digital literacy.
Entrust worked with Camedale Primary School in West Sussex to support their online safety strategy, The Headteacher said “It was very useful and will certainly help us keep on top of an ever changing topic. The 360 review was really good as were all the tips and resources. I really liked your coaching style enabling us to discuss and consider next steps. In appreciation again.”