In our digital world we need to be mindful of safety for the whole school community online but in particular for our students.
At the very least, as teachers, we need to be able to direct young people to the national and international services that exist on safeguarding should they get into difficulties and be prepared to help their parents or guardians too through this modern maze.
The good news is that there is a lot of support material that is readily available as well as organisations that can offer further guidance in more complex situations. Much of this has been put in place since the fundamental Byron Review published in 2008 and updated in 2010.
Below are listed some of these agencies and the role they play. This is a good starting point for teachers to understand who deals with what.
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT)
The VGT comprises of worldwide police forces who are working together to fight on-line child abuse. The website includes news, information and advice, as well as support with reporting abuse.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
A member of VGT this multi-agency service is The NSPCC, dedicated to tackling the exploitation of children – involved in policing, tracking and bringing offenders to account. Their website includes information for parents, young people and educational professionals.
Internet Watch Foundation(IWF)
A UK Hotline for reporting illegal online content specifically: child sexual abuse content (hosted worldwide) and criminally obscene and incitement to racial hatred content (UK hosted). As well as news and information about the law, the website includes useful links such as sites about: grooming, chat-room safety, and, mobile phone issues. There is also the facility to make on-line reports.
UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)
The UKCCIS brings together over 150 stakeholders, including, the NSPCC, the London School of Economics, ceops and Microsoft i.e. Organisations from industry, charities and the public sector.
UK Safer Internet Centre
One of the 31 Safer Internet Centres of the Insafe Network, which is co-funded by the European Commission’s Safer Internet programme. Coordinated by a partnership of three leading organisations: Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation., and has three main functions – an Awareness Centre, a Helpline and a Hotline. It also organises Safer Internet Day.
NSPCC safeguarding toolkit
An excellent all round site for getting to grips with this area for the professional is the free NSPCC safeguarding toolkit which covers how to write safeguarding policies and has templates and also a self-assessment questionnaire so you can identify any gaps. You can subscribe for free to their safeguarding newsletter which updates you on any recent policy changes.
So these organisations contain formal and legal information designed for adults but some also have content specifically designed for students of all ages.
The exercises and games offered could be incorporated into PHSE courses within your school. In addition, there are a number of other sites which specialise in education resources designed for all members of a school community. We cannot neglect use of online information outside the school gates when it is so embedded in our everyday lives and is likely to become even more so. It is now so easy to upload our own content to a range of social media sites and the danger lies in this being accessed by the public when it is intended for a close circle of friends.
For example, this might be the proud parent displaying a picture of their child in a school team – but the uniform identifies the school placing other students at risk. We need to try and ensure that parents and guardians are aware of the information and help sites available to them on this important topic – maybe through a newsletter or even better a specific seminar covering the topic so they can understand how to support their children.
This is a practical internet safety awareness programme for schools, and contains materials for young people, education professionals and parents/carers.
Know It All
Know It All is a website, provided by Childnet International, essentially a suite of education resources designed to help educate parents, teachers and young people about safe and positive use of the internet.
This is the educational side of the CEOP. The website includes guidance for parents, teachers, children and young people. There is lots of information about keeping safe using mobile and online technologies.
This site is sponsored by Childnet International and provides support and information to recognise and deal with online hazards, including managing personal information, and about keeping safe, social networking and cyber bullying.
European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA)
ENISA contains information about awareness raising, collating information, working together, and generally making mobile and on-line technologies safer places.
“Online safety in schools and colleges…” published by UKCCIS
Finally the excellent Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions from the Governing Board published by UKCCIS in 2016 provides a summary with useful links and advice ensuring a school keeps its community safe online.
Find out other ways to ensure that your students can safely, responsibly and positively use digital technologies, by reading our other blog post in conjunction with Safer Internet Day 2017 – “The Internet: Friend or Foe?”