Securus

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

Social Media Safety: what is the role of teachers?

teacher showing the kids social media safety
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Social media has been one of the most transformative channels of communication in the last few decades. Its powerful reach and ease of use make it a widely popular medium to share information, network, educate, inform and socialise. It is perhaps the only medium that does not have one specific target audience; everyone from school children to grand parents have found a voice via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. When it comes to children and adolescents, we cannot ignore the fact that they are on social media whether parents and teachers approve or not.

We recently came across an interesting analogy about playgrounds and social media – the author suggested that we let our children go to the playground knowing that they may encounter bullies there, or that they could get hurt. We let them learn how to climb and pick them up when they fall or hurt themselves, and we give them advice about how to handle bullies. Social media is the playground of this generation. Children still need help and guidance to navigate their way through.

The question now is whose responsibility is it to help and guide children in using social media safely? The debate continues, as some educators feel that schools are responsible for providing a holistic education, and social media etiquette is a part of that education. On the other hand, others feel that teachers are already burdened with following the regular school curriculum and helping students maintain decent grades.

Despite the contradictory opinions, more and more schools are now opting to include social media etiquette in their curriculum in one form or another.

When educating children on how to use social media safely, consider the following points:

Over-sharing Information

Most online platforms require users to fill out tons of personal information, ranging from birthdays to phone numbers. A lot of the details requested are optional and don’t have to be filled out. Children need to be cautioned about sharing this information as it can be easily become publicly available and accounts are at the risk of being hacked.

What happens on social media stays on Google forever

Often, young people share information online without considering the consequences, either as a joke or in response to something upsetting. In either case, the content might be inappropriate or unpleasant and what they fail to realise is that once the content is out there, it is available for download and can be saved or shared by others.

Also, whatever is posted on social media has a way of sneaking up on us on search engines, months or years after it has been posted. Caution children to think twice and take a minute to consider the long term implications of what they are posting and whether it is really information they want out there forever.

Be wary of strangers

Adults have been imparting this advice to children since time immemorial and it might seem like common sense at this point. However, in the digital world, strangers have the unique opportunity to pretend to be someone else and trick kids into trusting them.  In light of this unfortunate misuse of the Internet, children need to be warned not to share personal information with anyone online, as a hacker might pose as a friend or a relative.

Check-ins and location based services

Social media has made it really easy for everyone to constantly update their location and share who they are with, what they are doing, and even how they are feeling about it!

This can be extremely dangerous when it comes to children, because it exposes location in real time and makes it very simple for predators to track movements and determine when someone is alone or not at home. While children might think it is fun to share their location with friends and family, to let them know about the latest movie they have watched or trip they are on, they need to be warned about the potential dangers involved.

Photo-sharing

One of the social media features most loved by children and adults alike, is photo-sharing. In fact, with platforms like Instagram and snapchat, which are entirely dedicated to pictures and videos, the possibilities for photo sharing are endless.

Unfortunately, the dangers involved are many – children may post all kinds of photos without fully realising that anyone can access them once they are shared online. Although Instagram requires a user’s permission to follow an account, predators can assume anyone’s identity to trick children and misuse their pictures. Another issue is photo tampering, where photo editing tools are used to manipulate images posted online, often for no other reason but to embarrass or humiliate someone.

Social Media Safety Checklist

Ask your students to run through these questions before posting or sharing information on social media:

  • Will the information I share put someone in danger?
  • Do people really need to know where I am and who I am with?
  • Does this post reveal too much private information?
  • Would I want someone to know this about me in a few years from now?
  • Can this content be misused by someone to harm me?

Social media is a great method of communication, but it is one that needs to be used with caution and responsibility. Has your school implemented social media etiquette classes?  Have you considered the benefits of e-Safety programs and tools to help safeguard your students? Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to know more about how you can keep your students safe online and how to encourage social media safety.

Classroom management techniques to help you deal with your next tough day at school

Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

Most teachers who have been in the profession for a while have a few brilliant tricks up their sleeves – techniques they have mastered over the years to keep classes engaged, attentive and for the most part well-behaved throughout the school day. Despite their expertise in handling classrooms, every teacher has moments when they are at their wits’ end about how to handle a challenging pupil, or how to overcome a particularly difficult situation.

We have put together a list of some new and old techniques for effective classroom management to help you tackle your next tough day at school:

Giving children a choice to behave differently

Amidst the buzz of a regular work day at school, teachers often run out of ways to reprimand the same student again and again. One interesting option we have come across is giving children the choice to behave differently. For example, if you see two kids fighting over a book or toy, you might say, “Charles and Sam, please make a different choice”. This technique gives the child a chance to change his behaviour and impress his teacher. Most kids know when they are doing something wrong and expect to be yelled at or punished, however if you give them a chance to change their behaviour and fall into your good graces, you might just be one step ahead of them.

Reprimand children in private, briefly and immediately                                        

If you choose to correct or admonish a child, it is always best to do so when no one else is around. It is common knowledge that children will get defensive if they are scolded in front of others – even as adults, we would rather have someone correct us in private and not in the presence of our peers and colleagues. The rationale for keeping it brief is to get to the point quickly and avoid turning the situation into a ‘reward’ for inappropriate behaviour. The sooner you reprimand a child’s behaviour, the less likely they will feel that you condone his or her conduct.

Involve parents from the start

To really know your students and understand why they behave the way they do, it is helpful to have a positive relationship with their parents. It is a well-known fact that children often misbehave at school when they are undergoing difficulties at home. Also, some children have particular temperaments that result from emotional or learning difficulties, which need special attention. Standard rules and discipline techniques do not help in these cases and often exacerbate the issue. It helps to have an ongoing relationship with the parents to address issues, as and when they come up.

Develop a Positive Relationship with the class as a whole

As a teacher you already know that some children will test your patience and misbehave even after having been reprimanded several times. Often the result is that the child is treated differently, singled out or labelled as a ‘problem child’, even if only in the teacher’s mind. While much of this happens without the teacher meaning to isolate the student, it can have detrimental effects in the long term. Instead, a more helpful approach may be to isolate the problem behaviour rather than the child. This requires a conscious effort to establish a positive relationship with all the students in the class and treat each one of them with the same amount of enthusiasm and interest – even when it becomes challenging to do so.

Let your students have a say: welcome feedback

While this may not necessarily apply to younger age groups, it can be very effective with older students. Asking for feedback can involve a simple question like “How was the homework yesterday? Alternatively, you could conduct a brief survey and pose questions such as, “What do you like most about our classes together?” and “What would you want me to know about you, so I can teach you better?”

This technique not only helps you grow as a teacher, but reinforces the belief that you care what your students think. In the long run, this encourages them to appreciate the classroom environment more and leads to less disruptive behaviour.

Securus is dedicated to helping schools and teachers improve the learning environment for children; our e-Safety software is a tried and tested method for safeguarding children and helping schools make children’s safety a priority.

We love to connect with teachers and educational professionals to learn more about what is working for their school and what they can do to improve. Connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter or leave us a message in the comments section, to let us know your views about the latest trends in classroom behaviour management.

Radicalisation in the digital era: how the internet has become a tool for terrorists

Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Anonymous.Easy.Exciting. These are three words that probably describe how the Internet might appear to children and adolescents. With their curious minds, children increasingly turn to the Internet to find answers to all kinds of questions.

There is no denying that the Internet has revolutionised the way we communicate and made it easier for like-minded individuals to network and share ideologies. Amidst the hype about the latest technologies, apps and social networking platforms, there is an essential question we have had a tendency to overlook. What is the effect of the digital revolution on the most vulnerable section of society: our children and our youth?

With one in three children in the UK owning their own tablet or computer, we have to wonder how much of the information they are accessing is actually safe or appropriate for them. We know from experience that children are easily influenced and often fall victim to online bullying and harassment. But there is another large concern in today’s climate, triggered by the inevitable misuse of digital technology by violent extremists, who hold dangerous and radical ideals.

While it might seem shocking to most, the fact is that terrorist organisations have zeroed in on children – the least likely recruits – and are making concerted efforts to instill their radical ideologies in them.

Online radicalisation has received a great deal of attention in recent months, especially following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. There is an increasing fear that young people can be groomed online by violent extremists and encouraged to turn on their home countries and join these radical outfits. Over the last couple of years, we have seen the alarming impact of terrorism in our cities and communities, as well as its tragic and atrocious impact on humanity. What is even more alarming is that several of these terrorist groups use the Internet as a tool to share their message, propagate their ideology and contact new recruits.

Why do we need to worry?

Expert organisations in the UK and the US have done extensive research in this area and their findings are disturbing, to say the least:

  • In the United Kingdom, videos have been discovered in which young people filmed themselves re-enacting beheadings. The assumption is that the youths were mimicking videos of beheadings that had been posted online by terrorist groups across the world.
  • Some terrorist groups have established websites designed specifically for young audiences, disseminating propaganda through colourful, engaging cartoons and video games. Many of these sites are available in English and can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.
  • According to one report, a 19-year old British student, whose entire radicalisation occurred online, spent hours downloading extremist videos, posting messages, and chatting with other radicals. Eventually, he made contact with an extremist recruiter and, along with four other young British people he had never met, prepared to travel to a training camp overseas.
  • Terrorist groups have developed sophisticated online presences, implementing complex hosting mechanisms and, an array of platforms, including some that are more interactive and especially popular among children and teens.

The digital space offers an ideal platform to create social bonds and propagate ideologies that would not be deemed acceptable in the non-virtual world. Unfortunately, having realised the potential of the Internet, terrorists are leveraging its power to create a global network of recruits. By targeting the young, they have guaranteed a continuous supply of ‘soldiers’ to partake in their ongoing extremist activities.

Although the data and research paints a bleak picture, a lot is being done to protect and safeguard children from these dangers. Several organisations working in the area of child protection and safety have dedicated their time and effort to ensure that children do not fall prey to radicalisation and extremist ideologies.

e-Safety measures are some of the most reliable and effective mechanisms to ensure that children are protected at the early stages, as soon as they come into contact with a potential threat. The technology works in a way that ensures Internet usage can be monitored, and this tracking data can subsequently be used to safeguard children from harm.

The government’s Prevent duty now makes it obligatory for schools to monitor and report attempts at radicalisation. The Prevent duty states that Schools will need to demonstrate they are protecting pupils from being attracted to terrorism by ‘having robust safeguarding policies in place to identify children at risk, and intervening as appropriate’.

To keep up to date on this subject, look out for our next blog. If you work with children and are interested in information about e-Safety and other areas relating to child protection, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. We’d love to connect!

Page 11 of 11 «...7891011

To discover for yourself why more than 3,500 organisations have enjoyed the benefits of Securus solutions and to find out more about how Securus can help your organisation please call our customer service team on

+44 (0)330 124 1750 or email us at customer.services@securus-software.com

Alternatively, just click on the button below:

Contact Us