Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, observed every year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily, according to WHO. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate, timely, intervention can reduce suicide rates.  

This year’s theme is Working Together to Prevent Suicide and RM are pleased highlight new functionality within RM SafetyNet that enables a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) to receive important safeguarding alerts in a timely manner. 

As an internet filtering provider to over 3000 UK schools, RM SafetyNet provides schools with an efficient way of blocking pupil’s access to inappropriate, illegal and malicious content – but blocking content is only one part of a school’s obligations in the digital world.  Effective monitoring is also a requirement of schools and we know this can be a challenge, as internet usage and bandwidth increases – millions of rows of data are created, finding the pertinent information can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

This is the challenge that we have tried to tackle within RM SafetyNet.  We have been asking ourselves the question – How might we work together with schools to help prevent suicide or other online activities that may lead to a pupil being at risk?

As part of this work we have developed new Safeguarding alert functionality within RM SafetyNet.  Schools that are using RM SafetyNet and have User Based Filtering enabled can now use this new feature to receive safeguarding alerts. When one of their pupils searches the internet for a term that may suggest they are looking for content that may place them at risk or potentially looking for help, the Designated Safeguarding lead will receive an email alert and enable them to log in and view the internet activity for that child.  A review of the search terms and websites visited may help the DSL to determine whether a child is at risk or an intervention is needed to help that child.

What we see from working with schools on a daily basis is that children often use search engines as a cry for help, questions are asked of the internet as if it were a person that can reply and help them understand their feelings or how to get out of a difficult situation.  Our early testing of the functionality revealed search terms such as ‘how to commit suicide least painful way’ and ‘how to get help for suicide’.   As parents, governors and partners to thousands of schools, we knew we had to find a way of getting this information to the people who can make early interventions.  If we can help prevent even one suicide or incident of self-harm then all the work in developing this functionality will have been worth it.

This new feature is live for all schools using RM SafetyNet with User Based Filtering.   To enable the service for your school please just send me an email and I will arrange to have it activated for you.

Steve Forbes
Online Safety Product Manager

Categories: Safety and security

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