e-Safety and user monitoring solutions for education and the enterprise

The role of education in preventing online radicalisation

Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Education plays an important role in developing a student’s personality. Children spend much of their waking hours in school and teachers have a responsibility in helping their students reach their full potential. Ensuring the social and emotional development of children is a critical aspect of a teacher’s role. Therefore, they have a profound effect on the lives of their students.

Some believe that educating children contributes to solving many of the contemporary world’s problems. Be it poverty or gender discrimination, a good education can combat all this and more.

With advances in technology, teachers and students alike are making use of the Internet to supplement lectures, get access to online courses and extra materials and resources. The Web is now akin to a worldwide virtual school. According to an article published in The Guardian, children are referring to the Internet more than ever before, not just for educational purposes but for recreational purposes too.

With students as young as four using the Internet, it is in their best interests to safeguard them against its more unscrupulous elements. Online radicalisation is one such potential hazard. This can happen when an individual accesses extremist views and starts to believe and support them. This may also result in a change in behaviour and beliefs. Our earlier article highlighted why radicalisation is a serious issue which needs immediate attention.

What can schools and educators do, according to the law?

The UK Government published the Prevent Duty Guidance in 2015, which listed the duties of schools in tackling online radicalisation. It states:

“[Schools] are subject to the duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Being drawn into terrorism includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit.”

This does not mean students are barred from discussing sensitive topics like terrorist ideologies and extremist ideas. But it does mean that schools are advised to be mindful of presenting a balanced approach to these issues.

Risk assessment

The guidance expects schools and educators to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism. There should be a general understanding of the risks that can affect children as well as identifying children who may be at risk of being radicalised. Teachers must be aware of what to do to support such children.

Staff training

If Head Teachers and others in leadership positions ensure that staff understand radicalisation, they will have the capabilities to deal with it. They will be better equipped to challenge extremist ideas and be more aware of where and how to handle students who need further help.

IT policies

Establishing appropriate levels of filtering can go a long way in ensuring the safety of students from terrorist and extremist material.

Working in partnership

Schools need to co-operate with local Prevent staff, police, civil society organisations and other appropriate agencies. Engaging with parents is also considered important as they may be in a key position to spot the signs of radicalisation.

Educators can also encourage an environment in which students can debate controversial issues. Teaching students to critically appraise online sources of information will help them build resilience to online radicalisation. For in-depth guidance, you can always refer to our article on building online resilience.

How does Snapchat really work and why is it so popular among teens?

Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

In the midst of a zillion “likes” and “shares” on Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat offers a simple yet unique experience to share pictures and videos, which are viewable for a limited time.

Snapchat is a social media platform where photos and video are shared or viewed for no more than 10 seconds, after which they permanently disappear. It also has unique features including fun filters, face swap and typing or drawing over pictures. You can also join several pictures together to create a “story”, which can be viewed by others for up to 24 hours.

How this popular app works:

When you download the app, the primary screen opens in camera view. You can swipe down to go to the contacts screen and add or search contacts.

You can click pictures, customise them, draw icons, type captions, shoot videos, chat with friends and create stories. Likewise, you can view media from your contacts and screenshot their snaps on your phone which notifies respective senders. Eventually, you end up with a follower base and broadcast your media to them. The newer version has Snapchat memories, Slo-mo, Force touch features for easy use.

With all these attributes, Snapchat has become hugely popular, not only among teens but also among users aged between 25 and 34 years. A survey states that nearly 50% of teens in the UK now use the app. Here are some reasons why it’s so popular:

It’s all about “now”

Snapchat enables users to instantly upload without editing and allows faster communication. A study shows that Snapchat has managed to revolutionise how mobile phone users think about communication driven by images.

Creativity with security

The ephemeral feature of this app instils a sense of safety which allows users the freedom to share and communicate things they may not otherwise feel they can. The app’s features ensure there are no limits to users’ creativity. Features such as screenshot notifications and stringent privacy setting options may also appeal to those concerned with privacy. This article explains how children may operate Snapchat under parental control.

Personalised connections

Users with caption spiced-up snaps and Snapchat stories tend to build their follower base. Teens are captivated by  three-dimensional stickers which can be “pinned” to people, places or things in pictures and videos as they move. In addition, snapchatters can apply multiple pictographs at once for a digitally appealing experience.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words; however, if it is available for only a few seconds, it seems to be worth a thousand shares or likes, in the world of social networking! If used judiciously, social media apps such as Snapchat can provide a positive method of communication amongst young people.

Snapchat appears to be yet another priceless gem in the crown of digital media. As it gains in popularity among young people, it is worth becoming as well-acquainted with all its features as your child or pupil. To find out more, why not follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn?

PRESS RELEASE: Parent Zone and Securus join forces to help schools meet KCSIE duties

Securus Securus

Wednesday 2 November 2016, London

Parent Zone has joined forces with leading e-Safety software and monitoring company Securus to help secondary schools comply with the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance.

Securus will buy each of its new secondary school customers Parent Zone’s Digital Schools membership (worth £600), which offers a host of resources for schools to keep children safe, support resilience and educate them for a digital future.

The KCSIE guidance, which came into force on 5 September this year, requires schools to:

  • have appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place;
  • have an effective policy for dealing with incidents of concern that have been flagged up by the monitoring software;
  • ensure that pupils and staff are kept up to date and informed about online safety (an additional responsibility that was introduced this year);
  • ensure that pupils are not excessively blocked or over monitored to the extent that it restricts their educational opportunities.

Securus’s software monitors a school’s network for incidents which breach its acceptable use policy. For example, if a student was to Google a word on a school’s watch list, such as ‘pornography’, it will be captured and flagged up by the monitoring system.

Greg Johnson, CEO of Securus says: ‘We are thrilled to be partnering with Parent Zone and have long admired the work that Vicki Shotbolt and her team do. At Securus, e-Safety is not just our business – it is our passion. Like Parent Zone, we believe that the way to improve outcomes for young people in a digital world is by teaching children, parents and teachers how to enjoy the benefits of modern technology, while avoiding its inherent dangers. By working in partnership, Parent Zone and Securus can reach an even wider audience and achieve our common aim of promoting lasting improvements in online behaviour and the safe and responsible use of new technologies.’


Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone says: ‘Now that Digital Schools membership is delivered alongside Securus’s software system, schools will know how to respond and effectively deal with online concerns such as cyberbully, sexting and grooming.

‘Our Digital Schools membership offers a host of resources designed to give schools the support that they need in the digital age, enhancing the software system and package sold by Securus.’

To find out more please contact or call 020 704 0415.

About Securus

Securus is the market leader in e-Safety solutions for education. The company’s mission is to ensure children, staff and businesses are protected against the threats that exist in today’s digital age. Securus aim is to promote lasting improvements in online behaviour and the safe and responsible use of new technologies.

About Parent Zone

Parent Zone is the leading organisation supporting parents in the digital age. Parent Zone works with parents, schools and companies to make the internet work for families by offering expert advice and content. Parent Zone works with parents, schools and companies to make the internet work for families by offering expert advice and content.

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