Senso’s Five Top Tips For Student Safety Online
In today’s day and age, online safety is a real concern. With the range of social media platforms ever expanding, and children being exposed to the internet at increasingly younger and younger ages, the need for protecting vulnerable people online is greater than ever. With safeguarding as a mandatory requirement in educational establishments, school administrators may find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to the best way of protecting their students from exposure to harmful content.
After all, safeguarding is a multi-faceted concept, with many factors to take into consideration – it is a large legal and moral responsibility. Senso.cloud recognizes this and based on our years of experience in the industry, we have created the following list of top tips that will contribute to a safe and enjoyable internet experience.
Use a trusted safeguarding software system
We always recommend the use of trusted and reliable safeguarding software. By using a thorough software, this means the long processes of filtering out explicit content, updating keyword libraries, being able to restrict access to thousands of sites that contain inappropriate content and so on becomes streamlined into an efficient operation.
It's always best to carry out your own market research into potential companies to evaluate their offering, their reputation, and their prices. For example, some features may be more appealing to you than others, such as integration with Microsoft Teams or having a support and incident management team. Understanding your needs and ensuring a software system meets these requirements can be overwhelming, and Senso.cloud is happy to help answer any of your questions.
Involve parents and guardians
Keeping children safe online is a big responsibility, and it doesn’t just stop after the school bell rings.
Children can access the internet at any time, and teachers won’t always be around to keep a watchful eye. Therefore, Senso.cloud recommends ensuring that children’s parents and guardians are kept aware and up to date of the practices their teachers are using to ensure continuous student safety. This could be done through Zoom meetings, parent’s evenings, sending letters to home addresses and so on.
The internet is always rapidly evolving, and therefore your safeguarding planning and policies should be too. Measures set up to protect children should always be continually improving in order to ensure the highest level of student safety; however, given the vast spread of the internet and the speed at which trends both grow and die, it can seem like an overwhelming task for educators in charge of their school’s safeguarding strategy.
An effective strategy is to have a keyword library that has external influence in continuously reviewing and updating any new developments in content that will compromise online safety. For example, Senso.cloud uses leading charities to continuously review and update our keyword libraries through our Safeguard Cloud package, ensuring your protection against the latest potential threats.
Following relevant legislation
In order to ensure you are fulfilling your duty of care to your students, you should be aware of your country’s current advice and statutory guidance for safeguarding children. These policies are mandatory and should be applied to all school managed devices with the capacity to connect to the internet. Educational establishments should be setting out a robust list of measures that clearly explain their position in regards to safeguarding and how any incidents of online safety being compromised should be responded to.
All members of staff working at an educational establishment should complete some form of mandatory safeguarding training, as online safety and protection is every member of staff’s responsibility. Staff should be trained in knowing what children can and cannot access online, how to comply with legal safeguarding measures, how to use their school’s internet alongside their safeguarding policies and restrictions, and proper reporting procedure if they see or suspect a child accessing harmful or explicit content.
The importance of properly training staff members lies in equipping adults with the right knowledge and tools to be able to do everything in their power to prevent children accessing harmful content, or being able to quickly report it to the relevant authority if a breach occurs.
We hope that this article has helped you narrow down some key points to bear in mind when it comes to protecting your students online. However, Senso.cloud knows that this is a vast and daunting topic, and we’re here with a dedicated and experienced team of industry professionals to answer any questions you may have here.