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‘Together for a better internet’ is the slogan for this year’s Safer Internet Day, taking place on Tuesday, 9th February 2021. It’s a day that calls for everyone to join together to make the internet safer.

Around the world, there will be activities to raise awareness of the ways that individuals, schools, organisations and law makers can play their part to improve the internet and make it a safer place for young people to be as they access the huge range of information it offers.

A helping hand

As a developer of software solutions for schools, NetSupport recognises that teachers have the ongoing task of teaching digital citizenship skills to students, from primary school onwards. So we’ve worked with schools to include tools in our solutions to support them. For example, NetSupport DNA has a whole Safeguarding module for safeguarding staff and school counselors to use. It has a range of features, such as being able to monitor trends in students’ activity via a keyword cloud or be alerted to specific events of concern. However, it’s the ability to set age-appropriate parameters for web access for specific year groups that really helps to ensure a safe learning environment for students – as well as give them the freedom to practise what they’ve learned and, most importantly, make mistakes in safety.

NetSupport School and classroom.cloud also enable the teacher to keep an eye on students’ activity as they learn, as well as set up ‘approved’ and ‘restricted’ lists for internet use – not just to ensure students aren’t exposed to unsuitable content, but also to minimise distractions during the lesson and help them to focus. In addition, in NetSupport School, always-on SafeSearch is in place to filter out offensive content – and keyword monitoring detects any eSafety issues or inappropriate behaviour, allowing the teacher to discuss with the class, where appropriate.

Reaching out

An important part of digital citizenship is knowing when and how to ask for help or report something untoward but it can be daunting for some students to pluck up the courage to speak to their teacher about any issues that they may be having. NetSupport DNA helps these students by providing a ‘Report a concern’ tool to do just that! It’s easily accessed from the student’s toolbar (if using a school device) or direct from the school’s website (if the school has chosen to enable this) if using a device at home. Safeguarding staff will then see the concerns as they are reported and be able to give their professional response.

And for students who would rather not reveal their problems to someone they know, NetSupport DNA also includes a self-service list of external organisations that is ready and available for students to reference.

Of course, internet safety isn’t all about the technology tools – and it’s not a single lesson at school, but a life skill! It’s the teaching that’s the most important and the reinforcement of the key messages that help to keep young people safe online. We simply do our best to support that with our products.

Happy Safer Internet Day!

 

Further reading

Safer Internet Day: https://www.saferinternetday.org/

UK Safer Internet Centre: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2021

Safer Internet Day USA: https://saferinternetday.us/

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