Last September, Ofsted announced the inclusion of e-safety guidelines, requiring schools to demonstrate whole-school online safeguarding measures. What’s more, in January 2013 Ofsted declared that these benchmarks for e-safety will be evaluated at least three times a year.
In the e-safety brief released by Ofsted this January, statistics show that 40% of 11- 16 year old students have witnessed a ‘sexting’ incident, all of these students regarding topless images as acceptable. An overwhelming 28% of students within the same age range have been deliberately targeted, threatened or humiliated by an individual or group through the use of mobile phones or the internet. Such misguided use of technology needn’t become the norm.
Kirsty Collinson from Kodo Education, publishers of the new school website for schools www.e-safetysupport.com, advises that that “Young people are becoming more savvy about online dangers, but technology always stays one step ahead of the great mass of users. That's why it is important to equip children with skills and understanding so that no matter what the latest online craze or widget is, they can use it safely. There is a requirement for young people to be educated, and also a requirement from Ofsted that schools teach e-safety in a comprehensive manner. We are excited to offer help to schools.”
In this age where young people are digital natives, empowering both teachers and parents to harness technology which may not be second-nature to them requires rigorous whole-school support. Ensuring optimum e-safety for pupils both in and out of the classroom doesn’t have to be a daunting task when the right support is on-hand.
E-Safety Support are currently providing a solution for schools with their free service, providing monthly newsletters and advice from expert users. Included is a comprehensive report on "What every teacher needs to know about social media”, educating teachers to maximise social media within safe parameters.