Well, it was time to gain all the very latest regarding online safety from the highly informed and confident team at the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) and SWGfL.
Online Safety Live events are open to all who work with children and young people and aim to provide the latest information relating to research, legislation, technology, tools and resources, along with exclusive access to the presentation and associated materials.
Safety online is constantly changing and the purpose of Online Safety Live events is to provide easy access to this information. Those at UKSIC/SWGfL understand that everyone is busy and the feedback has been clear that getting significant time away from work is a challenge – this is the reason why they have organised these events as short briefing sessions. They provide vital information, critically supplemented with access to detailed resources to review later. The team are always available to answer any of your online safety queries or questions too.
This afternoon’s presentation was given by the formidable double-act of Andrew Williams and Ken Corish and well supported in the background by Helen Cole. After introducing themselves and the work of UKSIC and SWGfL, Andrew moved swiftly on as there was so much to cover in the space of ninety minutes. The session was sub-divided into five key areas, namely:
- prevent and intervene;
Ken began by exploring landscape. Not only do we rely on technology so much in our everyday lives at all ages, but the divide between school/work and home has also become increasingly blurred. Ken shared some of the content from Ofcom’s Making communications work for everyone report (March 2022); there were some really interesting statistics within the snapshot of media use by age.
Andrew then looked at threats in more detail. The 3Cs are now referred to as the 4Cs (content; contact; conduct and contract). Within this section, Andrew drew attention to harmful content, money, cyber security and harmful sexual behaviour. He also discussed the five ways that youngsters can earn online (blogs; YouTube; surveys; video game streaming and selling skills). We were made aware of the top 15 cyber threats, discussed DDoS, theft, money and cheating and were presented with facts and guidance linked to cyber attacks in schools. The percentage of organisations, both in and beyond the realm of education, that have had training or awareness-raising sessions on cyber security within the last 12 months was surprisingly low. According to Bitfender (October 2021), 61% of Internet users have experienced at least one threat in the past year, with potential financial fraud generating the most concern. Andrew highlighted the overlap between different policies. He then projected examples of harmful content and touched upon vulnerability, misinformation and the regulation of harmful content. Afterwards, he flagged up the latest findings from Ofsted, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and UKSIC/SWGfL relating to harmful sexual behaviour.
Ken focused on the requirements that educational establishments are expected to meet as laid out in various documents, e.g. DfE’s Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) booklet; RSE and Health Education guidance and Ofsted’s school inspection handbook. Next, he broke action down into seven areas: ownership; reporting; policy; staff; education; technology and evaluation, highlighting a number of useful tools, resources and websites in the process.
There is certainly plenty of support to access should the need arise. We were alerted how to report both unsuitable legal and illegal content, as well as provided with contacts for the harmful sexual behaviour support service and the Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH). Attendees were encouraged to subscribe to SWGfL’s newsletter and podcast to gain the latest online safety news and give a donation if they felt able. We were asked to save the date; Tuesday 7th February 2023 is the next Safer Internet Day, with further details being released over the next few weeks.
At the end, Ken, Andrew and Helen were available to respond to any questions that the audience had. However, many had been answered efficiently throughout the session via the growing chat feed.
Many thanks to all for an enlightening and engaging session; I now feel fully updated!