The new site has been set up to provide unrivalled advice from e-safety experts trained by The Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP), whose latest figures reveal a 10 percent increase in online child abuse that took place in a social networking environment between March 2008 and February 2009.
The school uses e-safe to help safeguard children in the digital/online world. The system monitors and identifies incidents involving pupils or staff and notifies the school accordingly upon discovery. Experts at e-safe education protect staff from exposure to this disturbing material, using their skills to form an unbiased and professional view on the level of risk different content represents.
Gerard Lonergan, Headteacher at Gateacre Community School, comments: “We are delighted to work with e-safe education on this campaign to help give important e-safety advice to the wider community. We feel that social networking skills are increasingly valued by employers and we want to encourage our pupils to continue using sites such as Facebook whilst being educated about the risks.”
Greg Jones, ICT Network Manager and Data Protection Officer at Gateacre Community School, comments: “Our aim is to make the Facebook site a forum for anyone to seek advice about e-safety with plenty of useful links to further information. We hope that parents and schools will join in the discussions during e-safety week and beyond to encourage responsible use of ICT.”
Colin McKeown, director at e-safe education, adds: “As young people increasingly use social networking sites to collaborate, we are also seeing a worrying increase in the amount of inappropriate photos and videos inadvertently appearing on school networks. This is a growing issue for school technicians and staff who continue to work hard to educate students about responsible and safe use of technology.
“We aim to help keep students’ privacy in check and monitor computer activity in the confines of looking for inappropriate behaviour only. We hope this new Facebook site will help to raise awareness about the risks and benefits of social networking sites and encourage schools and families to continue using them safely.”
A preview of expert advice that is available includes top tips from Colin McKeown, director at e-safe education, and Greg Jones, ICT Network Manager and Data Protection Officer at Gateacre Community School.
Top tips from Colin McKeown, director, e-safe education:
1. Schools should develop an e-safety policy that staff and students must abide by when using computer systems or online.
2. Schools must train staff to make them aware of the risks of the online world, as they are working first-hand with students and can spot potential students at risk and keep them safe.
3. Parents should keep computers in a public area of the house. An increasing number of incidents of predator grooming and cyber-bullying are taking place within the private confines of young people’s bedrooms, so it is vital now more than ever for parents to be aware of their child’s online activities.
4. Everyone should think before posting images or comments that might be inappropriate. Once explicit material is available to download on the web, whether it be a picture or video, it can never be fully erased and may be accessed by a bully or paedophile.
5. Schools should deploy a software solution on all computers that detects text, image and video transgressions, as approximately ten percent of harmful multimedia content on school computers remains undetected by systems relying on keyword or phrase-based monitoring. Schools can use technology to engage with students through personalised messages each time a transgression occurs, providing the opportunity to determine if the action was accidental or not.
E-safety experts including Colin McKeown and Greg Jones will be available to give advice throughout e-safety week and beyond through the Facebook site.
Parents can also log on to www.esafeeducation.co.uk for a 14-day free trial of the award-winning e-safe Protect @ Home software, which aims to give parents and carers peace-of-mind that their child is kept safe when using the computer at home.
For further information please contact Colin McKeown at e-safe education: t: 08444 128 623 / e: colin.mckeown@
Websites: www.esafeeducation.co.uk / http://en-gb.facebook.com/
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About e-safe education (www.esafeeducation.co.uk)
e-safe education, a division of e-safe Systems Ltd, is the UK’s first company to offer real-time forensic monitoring as a ‘managed service’ to help protect students against many serious issues, from predator grooming, cyberbullying, racism and radicalisation to drugs, gambling and even suicide. Trained by CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) in the latest detection techniques, e-safe education’s team of forensic experts are able to identify the level of risk each transgression represents and advise schools accordingly.