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 Safeguarding Essentials on December 18, 2014 14:04

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 15:06

Chester - the World's first Friendly WiFi city?

Chester businesses are being asked to get behind a new WiFi safety campaign and help to make Chester the world’s first porn free city. MP’s, children’s charities, and parenting groups are in full support of the drive to introduce ‘Friendly WiFi’ into Chester City Centre this September.

‘Friendly WiFi’, is supported by Government and has been set up to regulate the public WiFi offered in shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels, to make sure children and families are safe from seeing some of the most horrific websites and images on the Internet. The scheme has been designed by The Registered Digital Institute, who will soon be contacting businesses in the city to invite them to show their support for keeping children and young people safe online.

Chester MP Stephen Mosley is urging Chester businesses to get behind the scheme; “Friendly Wi-Fi is a fantastic innovation to keep our children safe online.” He added; “The Government has introduced a package that empowers parents to keep their children away from explicit material at home. But parents won’t be happy if they block explicit materials at home only for their children to be able to access it when out and about. That’s why I’m delighted to give my support to RDI in their effort to make Chester the first Friendly Wi-Fi city.”

Simon Warburton, Chester Cathedral’s Director of Operations said; “The Friendly WiFi logo serves as a signpost to a safe Internet service whilst parents are out and about with their children. The logo will remove any concerns about safety and allow families to enjoy a worry-free day out”

He added; “Friendly WiFi is absolutely essential for the safeguarding of children and young people online. The scheme blocks access to unsuitable content that children and young people should not be exposed to such as pornography. We fully support this approach.”

Friendly WiFi Director Mike Davies said; “I am excited to be launching our first porn free campaign in Chester. We hope that people visiting Chester and other towns and cities, will soon be able to walk along the high street and see our ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo in shop windows, restaurants and cafes and know without doubt that the WiFi that they provide is safe WiFi, for children and young people to log into without fear of stumbling across illegal and sexual websites and images.”

Chester is the first city aiming to take on the Friendly WiFi challenge and hopefully others will follow. Watch out for the launch of Porn Free Pendle and encourage your students to choose the Friendly WiFi option in your area.

More information can be found at the Friendly WiFi website.

Written by Friendly WiFi on September 18, 2014 13:20

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