1st Anniversary of the Digital Friendly WiFi Accreditation Scheme

July marked the first anniversary of the World’s first scheme set up to give confidence to the public that venues who provide publically available WiFi were barring access to pornographic or child sex abuse websites.


Friendly WifiAt a time when most children and young people have access to the internet through their mobile phones it is imperative that venue owners ensure that Public WiFi is not only protected but they are reassuring the public that they are doing everything in their power to protect our children and young people in this way.

The scheme ensures that the provision of Public WiFi Service is safe and meets an agreed industry standard as agreed by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron in July 2013.

The UK Government were the initiators behind the scheme and have provided continued support with direct support coming from Minister Ed Vaizey who was instrumental in the development. The recent appointment of Baroness Shields OBE as Minister for Internet Safety and Security further strengthens the Government’s commitment to internet safety.

Baroness Shields stated:
“The Friendly WiFi scheme has been a great success and is another example of how the UK is leading the world when it comes to making the internet a safer place for young people. I am delighted that organisations like IKEA, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Maudsley Centre and the City of York Council are joining the current members who are setting the bar for the responsible provision of public WiFi. Parents can take comfort in knowing that their children are protected from harmful content in these zones, and wherever they see the Friendly WiFi logo."

John Carr, Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety commented:
WiFi is a key pillar of our hyper-connected, always on world so it is essential that every company or organization that is involved in supplying it to the public thinks about their responsibilities towards children and young people. Friendly WiFi is the only scheme that checks to ensure that public WiFi meets a given standard, regardless of the individual WiFi provider. It is a testament to the success of the UK’s Friendly WiFi scheme that it is now being launched in the USA. I look forward to seeing Friendly WiFi grow and expand over the coming years.”

Beverley Smith, Director of the RDI commented:
“The first year of the scheme has been fantastic and it has been a real pleasure to work with all brands involved as well as the brands I am currently discussing the scheme with. To see the expansion of the scheme across all types of venues is achieving exactly what the scheme was developed to do”

Friendly Wifi CafeForerunners of the Scheme included Tesco and Starbucks.

Josh Hardie, Responsibility Director for Tesco stated:
“Friendly Wi-Fi means parents can be safe in the knowledge unsuitable content isn’t accessible through our wireless networks. We want to make sure children are properly safeguarded in our stores and we’re proud to be one of the first organisations to sign up to the scheme. ”

Simon Redfern, Communications Director for Starbucks commented:
“We’re delighted to have supported the Friendly WiFi initiative from the outset. We have exciting WiFi upgrades taking place over the next few months and our customers will soon be able to enjoy a faster service with the reassurance they are in a friendly and safe environment both online and in store at Starbucks.”

Expansion of scheme to the United States
RDI has been working to bring the Friendly WiFi Scheme to the United States with internationally known Internet safety expert, Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and President of Enough Is Enough (EIE), a U.S. based not-for profit organisation whose mission is to make the Internet safer for children and families. EIE launched the National Porn Free WiFi campaign in the United States in 2014 by targeting key brands such as McDonald’s and Starbucks to lead corporate America to adopt a minimum standard of filtering to ensure that pornography or child sex abuse images can’t be accessed whilst using their free Wi-Fi services

Donna Rice Hughes, President ‘Enough is Enough’ US stated:
“Corporate America needs to exercise responsibility to be part of the solution to keep children and families safe while using public WiFi services. The Friendly WiFi accreditation scheme is a win-win for the Corporation who offers filtered and friendly WiFi and is well positioned to become the good housekeeping seal of approval to help guide consumers where to go to use safe Wi-Fi in the U.S.”

Written by Friendly WiFi on August 10, 2015 12:53

E-safety Review of 2014

Governor Training 8In the final E-safety Support article of the year, we thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look back at some of the major news stories and events that have shaped the world of e-safety during 2014.

In January, the Christmas sales figures reported the huge increase in sales of tablet devises, changing the way many young people interact with the online environment. Unsurprisingly then, the biggest trend on display at the 2014 Bett show was that of implementing these devises into education.

February saw the 11th annual Safer Internet Day. Activities were held across the UK and reached millions. We are of course, looking forward to the event again in 2015. February also saw the fleeting internet craze, Nek-Nominate. This saw many young people taking sometimes fatal risks in order to go one better than their predecessors in this online phenomenon.

In March, a new NSPCC report found that 28% of children aged 11-16 with a profile on a social networking site have experienced something upsetting on it in the last year. In other news, teachers too were once again recognised by unions as needing ‘rules’ for social media usage. However, the positive side of social media was also recognised when the ‘no make-up selfie’ campaign raised millions for charity.

At the beginning of April, Ofsted released their latest inspecting e-safety briefing document containing suggestions for good and outstanding practice in this area. This report was to be later removed from the public domain, although the requirement for a robust e-safety provision in schools was still very much on the Ofsted agenda.

May saw the emergence of ‘Creepshots’, websites that operate like social networking media sites where members are encouraged to post photos that have been taken possibly without consent or knowledge of the person in them. May was also the month when the European Union set a major precedent over what is now referred to as the "right to be forgotten".

Slenderman made an appearance in June, the disturbing Internet creation that is being blamed for a series of near fatal stabbings. In other news in June, Facebook announced plans for a platform for children under 13 to have social networking profile. A report from AGV found that almost 80% of parents blame the Internet for forcing the 'Facts of Life' conversation. It was also suggested that contrary to popular opinion, children's unorthodox spelling and grammar while texting does not stop them learning the rules of formal English.

July saw the launch of Friendly WiFi. Friendly WiFi is the world’s first accreditation scheme designed to verify whether a business’ public Wi-Fi service meets a minimum level of filtering to block out access to pornographic and child abuse websites. This brand new service aims to protect young people when they access the Internet using Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, restaurants etc.

In August, a study by Oxford University saw the positive side of gaming, suggesting that playing video games for a short period each day could have a small but positive impact on child development. Also in August, Ofcom announced figures which suggested that six-year-olds understand digital technology better than adults.

In September, The Telegraph reported that parents feel more confident talking to their children about notoriously tricky topics like the birds and the bees, puberty and race than they do about how to use the internet safely – and some plan to avoid it, despite admitting its importance. In related news, parents were encouraged to pay more attention to the apps their children download after new research found that nearly a third do not monitor the downloads their children make to their smartphones.

News in October reported that teenagers sending each other sexually explicit messages and images – known as sexting – is increasingly becoming a “normal” part of growing up. However, they were also warned about the risks and potential legal issues surrounding sexting. It was also in October when the leak of images from the popular app Snapchat (which became known as the ‘Snappening’) put the privacy of many young people at risk.

As we reached November, many schools and organisations geared up for Anti-Bullying Week. With more and more children owning mobile devices and spending longer online and on social media, cyber bullying is becoming one of the most common forms of bullying. The annual event organised by the Anti Bullying Alliance saw many activities across the UK.

And finally, in December, the Prime Minister spoke at the #We Protect Children Online summit to commit to tackling online safety. David Cameron revealed details of 3 main strategies to tackle online child exploitation; blocking internet search terms, identifying illegal images and Global child protection and laws.

Looking back, it’s been an eventful year, with the world of e-safety evolving and online trends coming and going in a flash. We expect 2015 to be no different, so will be continuing to support you and your school with up-to-date news and information about the e-safety issues that affect you.

Written by E-safety Support on December 18, 2014 13:57

Friendly WiFi supporting Get Safe Online Week

It’s time to celebrate ‘Get Safe Online Week’ an annual event aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of online crime and criminals and the simple steps that can be taken to stay safe. There are numerous events taking place across the UK from the 20th to the 26th of October to highlight the potential dangers that anyone regardless of age could face if they are not equipped with the right knowledge and safety tips. In support of this, the ‘Friendly WiFi’ team couldn’t be prouder that we have been asked to contribute to driving awareness of this hugely important event by being this week’s E-Safety Support guest blogger.

Although our online safety initiative is relatively new, having launched officially in Summer 2014, ‘Friendly WiFi’ is a hugely important accreditation scheme which is growing steadily and gaining support from across the educational, retail and hospitality sectors. ‘Friendly WiFi’ is the world’s first scheme to accredit businesses in the UK which have the correct filters in place to block inappropriate material. This makes each ‘Friendly WiFi’ scheme members WiFi services safe and secure for families, children and young people to use.

The online safety and security needs of families and children in the UK is our team’s top priority and we feel very privileged to be working alongside such great online safety advocates, experts and ‘Friendly WiFi’ scheme supporters. Since we began working on the development of ‘Friendly WiFi’ which was designed at the request of the PM, we have had support not only from Government but also from leading charities including the NSPCC, Childnet, The Internet Watch Foundation, online safety expert John Carr and other organisations involved in the safeguarding of children online.

We have a great working partnership with E-safety Support who have been key in introducing us into the educational sector as we move into protecting children online by accrediting WiFi services used in schools and other higher educational venues. The most recent school to join our scheme is Portsmouth Grammar who have recently been accredited as a ‘Friendly WiFi’ venue. We are looking forward to working with them to use our partnership as a case study for other local authorities and their schools.

We are delighted to have been approached by a number of LA’s who use public WiFi within their schools and who this year are planning on implementing and rolling out a technology program called ‘Bring your own device’. This program supports mobile learning and lets pupils move toward personalised, anytime, anywhere learning. As part of BYOD pupils will be encouraged to use their own laptops, tablets and phones whilst on school premises, this highlights the need for restrictions to be imposed on to public Wi-Fi to block some of the worst websites and images found on the Internet to keep children safe online.

Any schools, colleges or businesses wanting to find out more about ‘Friendly WiFi’ can request more information by contacting us via email fw@rdi-online.co.uk alternatively find out more at www.friendlywifi.co.uk.




Written by Friendly WiFi on October 22, 2014 14:49


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