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

e-Safety – the balance between filtering and monitoring

Filtering and monitoring
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

As schools continue to reap the benefits of technology in the classroom they are also required to have reliable and robust filtering and monitoring systems in place. Some educational establishments have concerns about how they will implement e-Safety, especially as the government has recently made it mandatory. However, this needn’t be a difficult task to achieve. Here we outline what you need to know about filtering and monitoring.

Filtering and monitoring content – what is the difference?

A Filter is a piece of software that prevents illegal and inappropriate content from being accessed, and makes sure that children use the internet for the right purposes only. Modern filters are quite sophisticated and can successfully block dubious sites from passing through. There is a catch here though. A filter could end up blocking perfectly acceptable sites, if it comes across particular words that have been identified as objectionable.  Administrators can remove blocked sites from a filter’s blacklist, but it is a rather tedious and time consuming process.

With only a filtering system in place, students can be prevented from accessing certain sites, but the attempt to visit them would go largely unreported. The only way to keep track would be to manually check the browsing history of each student, which is not a practical method.

Monitoring, on the other hand is more of a reporting strategy – it tracks browsing activities of the students and records details of any inappropriate access on any part of the school network.  Monitoring ensures that pupils use the Internet for the purpose they are supposed to, as well as gaining deeper insights into their topics of study and remaining in touch with their teachers to discuss assignments. Therefore, monitoring will not prevent access but will alert the authorities about an attempt to access inappropriate sites. This helps schools keep an eye on any potential misuse of the Internet and deters students from using the school network for anything that isn’t relevant to their studies.

Why a combination of filtering and monitoring works best for schools

e-Safety aims to safeguard the privacy and wellbeing of pupils while they use technology in school, at the same time giving them enough freedom to benefit from it. The best way to achieve this is by using a combination of filtering and monitoring. Both methods can work together to block inappropriate sites and report any attempts to access them.

Securus has been instrumental in safeguarding young people online in the UK.  Our software effectively tracks all online activity and reports any violations of a school’s Acceptable Use Policy.  Since 2002, Securus has helped more than 3,500 educational establishments provide their pupils with the use of a secure and reliable network that allows them to enjoy the advantages of staying connected with the online world, without compromising their safety.

All you need to know about e-Safety

Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

With children as young as three using computers today, it is vitally important that e-Safety is implemented as early as possible. So, what exactly is e-Safety and why is it so important?

 e-Safety is about helping children identify the potential dangers of the Internet without deterring them from using it to its best advantage. With the correct e-Safety tools at their fingertips, children will be empowered to identify any unethical behaviour and reduce the likelihood of becoming victims of cyber abuse or bullying.

Enforcing e-Safety among children and encouraging positive habits while interacting online

 Here are a few guidelines parents and teachers could follow to instil e-Safety habits in children. It goes without saying that every situation is unique and therefore you need to decide what is best for you and your child, based on your circumstances.

  • Supervision

It is recommended that children under the age of 12 should be supervised at all times whilst using the Internet. This is the best way to ensure they develop a healthy attitude to using technology in a responsible manner.

  • Setting ground rules

These should be followed every time they are online. These ground rules could include:

  • Never post private information (name, address or telephone number) on any public platform.
  • Never send photos of themselves to anyone they don’t know, and in general, avoid posting photos online until they are old enough.
  • Never give out passwords to anyone, even trusted friends.
  • Never interact with strangers online, let parents/teachers know if they suspect anything is amiss.
  • Always ask permission before installing or downloading anything on the computer to prevent malware that could cause the system to crash or compromise the security of your data.
  • Ensure that your child views what is appropriate for their age

Setting parental filters is the best way to make sure that your children only get access to content that is suitable for their age. These filters block offensive sites and prevent your child from accidentally stumbling upon inappropriate sites. Please click here to find out more about how to protect your child with parental controls.

  • Communicate with your child

Have ongoing discussions with your child about the consequences of irresponsible online behaviour and how it can affect their life. Help them to understand that there is often a thin line between what’s acceptable and what is not and that they need to remain vigilant at all times, to ensure that they are not crossing that line.

If you would like to know more about e-Safety or safeguarding children in the digital space, then join the conversation on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn.

The key benefits of e-Safety monitoring for your school

Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

The Internet has emerged as a critical educational tool and is an immensely valuable source of knowledge. It has widened the horizon of learning by providing easy access to information. However, this value also brings risks, especially for children. Monitoring software is a very effective way to ensure a positive and safe online experience for young people.

Here are some of the advantages of e-Safety monitoring for schools:

Prevents access to harmful content:

Internet based research is an integral part of learning these days. Students browse the Internet for projects and assignments. e-Safety monitoring ensures that children are not drawn into websites containing inappropriate content. By helping teachers understand what children are doing online, it empowers staff to take appropriate sanctions against technology misuse.

Helps adopt remedial measures:

e-Safety monitoring helps teachers to guide students whenever required. Monitoring provides not only a method of preventing children from gaining access to harmful material, but also provides the opportunity to educate them about the safe and appropriate use of technology.

Helps parents feel secure:

e-Safety helps to reassure parents that their child is free from online risks at school. It is important for schools to implement effective measures, so that students reap the positive benefits of technology.

Enhances students’ understanding of safe content:

Over a period of time, young people are able to recognise and understand appropriate content and good online behaviour. They will begin to develop their own perception of unsuitable content, even when browsing from home. e-Safety is not just about implementing control measures – it is about empowering the child from an early age with their own tools for web safety.

Legal necessity:

The revised Keeping Children Safe In Education document, that came into effect in September 2016, specifies that schools need to have “appropriate filtering and monitoring in place.” The framework aims to safeguard students by reducing risk. Monitoring software also helps schools avoid any potential legal liabilities.

Adopting effective e-Safety solutions helps give children a beneficial online experience. To find out more about e-Safety solutions, follow Securus on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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