Safeguarding in schools: the impact of new technology and social networking

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6 years ago I remember quite clearly a conversation with another member of staff when a bullying problem cropped up on Facebook. Parents were in demanding we take action and then we just said its nothing to do with us.

6 years on a numerous DFE and serious case reviews, schools have no option but to act on what’s in front of us.

I take every step I can to make sure I stay ahead if the students, read the press articles, twitter feeds, blogs and other literature to stay on top of E safety developments. Facebook is just the tip of a huge iceberg

The current situation and evolution in smart phone use has caused no end of problems compounded by the 24/7 diet of Communication and the lack of boundaries.

Trying to manage the safeguarding from a school in a 24/7 environment Apis virtually impossible. I have done the CEOP training and given numerous assemblies on many safeguarding themes and I still feel we are not even denting the surface of the problem.

I know some schools have completely banned the use of mobile smartphones because if the safeguarding risk, we have embraced the technology and given the students iPads. We were very clear from the outset on what would be acceptable behaviour and what wouldn’t. I also make sure I work with local primaries and plan to build on what they have already covered.

I will add more to this as things evolve

More added 21.4.13

An interesting post I read yesterday about the decline in use of Facebook in teenagers and that the average age of a facebooker is 41.
Teenagers are now looking towards instant picture messengers like KIK and Snapchat, and certainly the traffic I see on the intranet and the talk of the play courts is of instant picture messengers.

link to article

How will this impact on safety, it certainly seems CEOP are taking a note of these messengers as it seem infiltrated by undesirables.

It does always astonish me how naive young people are, they seem on the whole to be aware of the risks, but just take the approach that it won’t happen to them. How do we educate this naivety away?

iPad in education our journey so far

First thing was to get the wifi infrastructure right. We now an industrial standard wifi network capable of connecting 750+ iPads ready for work. It has 1GBps connection so is lighting fast for browsing

Then give all your student facing staff iPads and training to start them using them. They are worth it just to ease communication problems.

Research and start consultation , be ready for the battles. We found most onside but some absolutely opposed to using an iPad in school.

During research make sure the finance team know what they are doing and you have consulated lawyers to make an documentation totally legally watertight, particularly the signed acceptable use policy

Procurement , delivery and insurance all can be competitive in volumes, maybe go with other schools for economy of scale

Roll out just before a holiday and that helps parents and students get used to them before they have to be used in anger

Build/utilise a Genius Bar type drop in facility for problems

Be prepared for teething problems and a massive spike in games use during first month but it does die down. (Most app games have a short shelf life, how much did you play angry birds? You still play it?)

Safeguarding has to be promoted, through assemblies, press releases and parental/staff training.

Get learning how to actually learn with iPads. It isn’t as easy as you would think.

SHARE and SHARE some more. Ideas flow and they need to captured and passed on. Use the students to as digital leaders.

iPad in Education

At my school we have just put IPads into the hands of all year 7, 8 and 9 and we are embarking on a journey of discovery to see how these are going to improve the learning of our students. Initial feedback is good but I really want to see how the learning is improved rather than just engagement.

My other focus is on the Safeguarding/E safety and inclusion issues that will inevitably arise

Follow me on twitter @MrACalvert