Podcasts. Webinars. Videos, quizzes and articles. There’s no doubt that the internet is full of exciting learning opportunities for children of all ages. But by connecting your school to the world wide web, you’re also opening your pupils up to a number of threats – and that means you need a strategy for keeping them safe.
From cyber bullying or ‘trolling’ to inappropriate content and data hacks, how should you be keeping pupils safe within a ‘connected’ school? By following this checklist, you’ll have all bases covered.
Teach your pupils how to keep themselves safe online
Through age-appropriate lessons, equip your pupils with the knowledge they need to recognise, prevent and report safety concerns. By ensuring your students understand what it means to be responsible and savvy online, you are empowering them to self-police safety threats. Also make sure pupils understand the consequences of inappropriate online activity and cyber bullying.
Offer training for teachers
Give your teachers the know-how they need to monitor and handle online safety concerns by providing tailor-made training sessions. This will ensure they know exactly what to do if they need to report or manage safety incidents.
Monitor internet use
In a school environment, network monitoring is a must. Monitor student usage of school WiFi to ensure the internet is being used in an appropriate and responsible way, and make sure younger primary school children are not left unattended while online.
Put restrictions in place
Your pupils should not be able to access inappropriate materials via the school network. By putting restrictions in place to block specific sites, you’re not only keeping students safe but also ensuring they’re focused on the task at hand.
Set meetings to regularly review your policies
Technology is continually changing. As new devices and platforms come to the fore, your safety requirements may evolve – so make sure you set regular meetings to review your school’s online policies to take this into account.
Provide an easy way to report incidents
Every pupil and teacher in your school should know exactly what to do – and who to talk to – if they have any concerns about online safety. Provide your students with a number of channels to report incidents – formally via a nominated safety officer, informally to their teacher or anonymously via a dropbox.
Keep a logbook
Keep track of every safety incident by maintaining a central log of incidents or general concerns detailing what actions were taken – along with the outcome. Use this log as a point of discussion during your regular online policy meetings.
Secure your WiFi
Open, publicly accessible WiFi allows hackers to easily access to school systems. To prevent unauthorised access and protect your pupils, add appropriate security layers to your WiFi network – starting by closing the network with a complex password.
Install anti-virus software
Anti-virus software is a must for all school computers. This will protect your machines from attacks and malware – so make sure the software is installed and updated regularly.
Be vigilant with school data
Your school network is full of personal data including names, addresses and contact details – and it’s important to ensure this is safe from external hacks. Make sure all confidential data is stored on a separate closed network, and adopt a policy – requiring parental consent – for publishing pupil images and names on the school website and social networks.
Want to chat more about your safety in your connected school? Give our friendly team a call – we’re always here to offer our honest expert advice.