In this blog series, Kevin Robinson explores the various risks to school IT systems and presents practical solutions for minimising them.

The internet has undoubtedly brought a myriad of benefits to learning, but as the breadth of content available to pupils increases every day, so do concerns over online safety and the risk of pupils accessing inappropriate content.

The key to managing risks associated with online safety is to empower pupils to understand those risks for themselves – from stranger danger to cyber-bullying to sexting - and be able to pro-actively reduce them.

But that can’t be done without a strong, clear and up-to-date e-safety policy that identifies every potential risk and outlines protocols for managing them.

These policies also need to be updated frequently, because technology is evolving so rapidly that new risks to internet safety emerge every day.

However, no policies can prevent a pupil searching for inappropriate content, so integrating filtering and monitoring tools into your school’s network is fundamental to mitigating these risks.

These tools allow schools to filter age-appropriate content and to track and monitor keywords or topics which could highlight a major cause for concern – such as students looking for information on suicide or self-harming, or content which could be considered radical or extreme.

Your ICT partner should be aware of all the latest technology and apps, and be able to advise you on the best strategies for your school.

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