Online safety:
Best practice for schools

Charlotte Aynsley

Online Safety Consultant

Children’s use of technology has grown exponentially over the last 5 years, with the use of social media and mobile access transforming how and where children use the internet. With all this access to tech it is crucial that children are helped and supported to navigate their way effectively through the online world.

Evidence has showed over the last 10 years that where children are banned and blocked they are unable to develop the appropriate resilience to risks online therefore their access needs to be managed and the risks need to be mitigated. Schools need to focus on a model of empowerment and opportunity to promote digital resilience in children and young people and to protect their staff and the wider community.

The context for all of this is that schools have a duty of care to children in the online context demonstrated in key statutory guidance like Keeping Children Safe in Education and in the respective inspection regimes.

Children need to be protected from:

  • Content risks – adverts; spam; sexual content; racist conten
  • Contact risks – having their personal harvested; being bullied; being groomed and self harm content
  • Conduct risks – gambling and hacking; bullying another child; creating sexual content (sexting) and providing false information about themselves

We believe a whole school approach to online safety is essential in ensuring that children and young people can exploit the opportunities online whilst also being protected. We’ve broken this down into three simple areas, that we believe working together should support your whole school approach

Policies and practices - This includes acceptable use policies for staff and students, ideally with students involved in the development.

Infrastructure and technology - Robust technology that helps students to stay safe online and protect staff. This includes appropriate filtering and monitoring that support you in mitigating risk.

Education and training - For students, staff and parents.

Take our free online safety review tool to review your school approach to online safety. It provides:

  • A process for identifying any improvement areas
  • Advice and tips that can influence your current online safety practices
  • A personalised action plan to guide you and improve your online safety provision

If you want to discuss further email or call us on 0808 172 9532

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