The pros and cons of Facebook - a student view

Smart phone - FreeDigitalPhotos.netAs a student, I use Facebook almost every day. Most of the time this is purely out of boredom, however it does have its uses. After moving away from family and friends to go to university, I have found Facebook to be one of the easiest and most efficient ways to keep in contact with them and updated with what’s going on in their lives. Another great use of Facebook is the pages created for students which informs its ‘likers’ of current discounts and offers available, studentbeans.com, for example. Even my university has a Facebook page which updates its students with current events and important news related to the uni. In order to help one another when struggling or confused about an assignment, a fellow peer created a Facebook group for our English year. Although I often use Facebook to procrastinate, this Facebook group has helped me when I’ve been confused about referencing or uncertain about what to do for my assignment. If needed, I can simply post a comment on the group wall and, more often than not, three or four people will reply with the answer.

Unfortunately, there are many downsides to Facebook. As I previously mentioned, it’s an excellent place to procrastinate. Filled with hundreds of distractions, funny ‘Vine’ videos and addictive games like ‘Candy Crush,’ it’s easy to lose an hour or so without even noticing. Then there’s the ridiculous amount of pointless pictures people upload to Facebook which have been synced with their Instagram accounts. Pictures of food, pets and selfies with pouts; it’s all useless to me. I can appreciate the picture of your pet, and you look lovely in your selfie but did I really need to know what you had for lunch? I don’t have an Instagram account so maybe I don’t quite understand the hype. My friend once uploaded a picture of socks to Instagram purely to see how many likes it would get. It got around 10 likes within an hour of being uploaded. 10 likes for a picture of socks! Or maybe that’s really creative and I just don’t have the artistic eye to see this?

During high school I found that if there was an argument or fall out between peers at school this would then carry on to Facebook. There would be statuses set, one peer would edit a photo of the peer they had fallen out with and re-post this on Facebook or maybe set it as their profile picture. I never witnessed what I would call cyber bullying on Facebook. However, when websites such as Formspring became popular, due to the anonymity button on the site, one pupil decided to pretend to be another and sent argumentative messages to another pupil. This therefore created a lot of upset, particularly for the pupil who was being impersonated. Thankfully, this happened towards the end of Year 11 so the impersonated pupil managed to escape away from the situation to college before it got any worse.

High school was four years ago now and although I rarely see an argument on Facebook today, I still see people setting statuses about others without revealing the person’s identity. I understand some people see Facebook as somewhere to vent their feelings but surely it’s going too far when you’re writing a status aimed at another for all to see? In my opinion, Facebook statuses should be used to share jokes, something funny that happened to you, an amusing video, to share your interests or a provoking article. I don’t think it should be used to pull others down, beg for attention or update your friends with every moment of your day.

It is unfortunate that people abuse the site by using it to hurt others. Facebook was originally created to give people somewhere to socialise with others and share their interests but it has evolved into so much more. It is used for advertising and promoting products and companies. It has helped me find long, lost friends, to keep in touch with friends who have moved away, and broadened my knowledge of the world and the people in it through pages such as Upworthy and Humans of New York. Despite the endless amounts of rubbish found on it there’s a great amount of interesting and wonderful things, too.

At E-safety Support we would like to thank Rebecca for sharing her thoughts on this topic. If you would like to share your opinion about this or other e-safety topics, please use the comment section below or email tinae@e-safetysupport.com

Written by Rebecca Hope on February 06, 2014 13:15

Trend spotting at Bett

Bett ShowDuring last week’s Bett Show, we took the opportunity to take a look at the education trends that were emerging from an e-safety perspective.

Unsurprisingly, by far the biggest trend is that of using portable devices and Apps to support education and learning. There were over 500 online resources on show along with hundreds of devices including BYOD, tablets, touch-screens, webcams and a host of Apps too – the list goes on.

With all this access to technology and the Internet, it’s easy to get swept along with the shiny new gadgets and flash Apps to help engage students in and out of the classroom – anything that supports this should of course be encouraged.

But with all this change in the way we teach and learn it’s vital to remember that e-safety should come as part and parcel of any new technology we choose to use with students. That’s not necessarily to say that new devices should prohibit certain websites for example, but that we should be aware of any potential risks we place in front of students. Does a new App allow users to engage with each-other? If so, do we know who the other users are? Can the activity be monitored? And so on.

We should always know the pros and cons and make students conscious of them too before integrating new technology into the classroom. That said, there were some great examples on show that combine new technology with good e-safety practice.

If you have encountered good or bad examples of devices or Apps that you would like to share with fellow teachers, please let us know by using the comment form below.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on January 30, 2014 11:40

Interpreting the Ofsted Requirements for E-safety

Text BookIn September 2012, Ofsted issued the first briefing to its inspectors instructing them on how they should inspect e-safety in the schools they attend. The inspection authority’s ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ document has been updated regularly, with the last amendment being published at the start of this year.

The briefing has caused a fair degree of confusion within schools, with regard to interpreting its stipulations. What e-safety requirements school leadership should have in place with regard to their staff and students has caused the most uncertainty.

The document highlights a number of key features of good and outstanding practice, which cover a number of areas. Within this and subsequent blogs, we will look at the individual areas of the briefing and suggest how schools may deliver particular aspects successfully, in the eyes of Ofsted (or indeed, other inspection authorities) and to the benefit of schools.

Key Features of Good and Outstanding Practice - Whole school consistent approach

1. All teaching and non-teaching staff should have good recognition and awareness of e-safety issues.

This can be demonstrated by:

  • Having a repository of useful documents and articles relating to different aspects of e-safety.
  • - This gives helpful context when discussing e-safety in training sessions for staff as well as assisting students to understand during PSHE or ICT lessons focusing on e-safety.
    - Allows students and staff to keep up-to-date with new e-safety issues.
    - It also allows students and staff to privately browse the articles to improve recognition and awareness or help with projects relating to e-safety.
    - A repository can also be helpful when compiling an e-safety policy.
    - Can be used in school newsletters/websites to keep parents/guardians aware of modern e-safety issues to ensure that they can keep their children safe at home.

  • A comprehensive and up-to-date training scheme (see point 3)
  • 2. The senior management of schools have made e-safety a priority across all areas of the school.

    This can be demonstrated by:

  • The achievement of a recognised standard, such as the ‘E-safety mark’. The South-West Grid for Learning offers a free e-safety self-review tool to assist in achieving this standard.
  • The school having in place planned, comprehensive e-safety and safe-guarding programmes of study which must be embedded within all aspects of each year group’s curriculum such as within PSHE/ICT schemes of work, lesson plans and classroom resources.
  • Evidence of the use of a wide range of age-appropriate e-safety resources that utilise modern digital technologies to deliver e-safety information in an engaging manner for 21st century students.
  • Evidence of relevant and up-to-date e-safety content and safe-guarding facilities (reporting CEOP buttons etc.) contained within the school’s online presence such as its VLE, learning platform or website.
  • The school should ensure that e-safety and safe-guarding are also embedded in other school activities such as extended school provision.
  • The school e-safety plan possessing breadth and progression such as evidence that an audit of e-safety provision is regularly carried out and, if areas of improvement or development are identified, these should be addressed in a timely manner.
  • Students possessing knowledge and awareness of e-safety issues and understanding the importance of following the school’s e-safety and acceptable use policies. This can be addressed in relevant lessons and assemblies.
  • Programmes whereby students are involved in e-safety education such as peer-monitoring or student-led assemblies.
  • Effective education, monitoring and protection of vulnerable students who may be at risk from both their own online activities and those of others.
  • 3. Training in e-safety has been given a high priority in order to increase both expertise and internal knowledge capacity.

    This could be demonstrated by:

  • Provision of recognised comprehensive programmes of e-safety training for teaching and non-teaching staff across the whole school by organisations such as Fantastict or E2BN.
  • Use of resources provided by www.e-safetysupport.com and other online e-safety information providers to support staff awareness training.
  • Comprehensive use of resources such as the videos available from CEOP to train students to seriously consider their personal online actions and behaviour.
  • 4. They value the contribution that students, their parents and the wider community can make and that this is integrated into the whole school e-safety strategy.

    This could be demonstrated by:

  • The implementing of clear channels of reporting of potential e-safety issues by both students and parents. These could take the form of:
  • - Nominated, trained individual members of staff and peer-monitors that parents or students could approach personally in the event of an e-safety issue.
    - A specific email address or telephone contact that parents use to alert the school of potential issues or to request advice on e-safety.
    - Regular in-school events to allow dialogue to take place between parents and teaching staff where advice and information could be offered regarding e-safety and safe-guarding issues.
    - Promoting access to parents to the school’s repository of articles and resources in order to raise awareness and knowledge of e-safety issues at home.

    These are just some suggestions on how you may develop your e-safety provision. If you would like to share your thoughts on implementing e-safety policy and practice in your school, we would love to hear from you. Please use the comments form below.

    Further ideas on how to demonstrate key features of good and outstanding practice will be brought to you in future articles.

    Written by Steve Gresty on January 23, 2014 12:48


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