Is your answer to e-safety in schools blocking? If it is, you might be shocked to discover that a recent survey* of ours revealed that an alarming thirty-five per cent of students have circumnavigated online blocks designed to prohibit access to websites of an inappropriate nature. What’s more, ten per cent of these students admitted to accessing pornographic, gambling and self-harm sites three times or more a month. Impero have created an infographic, below, highlighting these alarming figures.
The e-safety in schools survey, conducted through social media platform Facebook, has disclosed some worrying statistics. As the infographic demonstrates, ninety-six per cent of the students questioned confirmed that their schools use website blocking as a method for e-safety, while forty-five per cent admitted to knowing peers who have accessed prohibited websites at school. When these results are reviewed alongside, it’s clear to see that blocking online access in schools just isn’t working.
As the concerns over the risks of online learning grow, it’s inevitable that many will turn to blocking to ensure e-safety in schools. Relying on website blocks is quickly being recognized as the wrong approach, proving ineffective and limiting. Although we want young people to learn how to navigate the web safely, we expect them to do this without affording them the opportunity. Equally, how can students make full use of online resources if blocking, whether directly or indirectly, prevents access to useful sites?
The key to e-safety in schools lies in both monitoring and education. Young people are more tech-savvy than ever, but educating students about the dangers, the risks, and what is deemed as acceptable – or unacceptable – behavior online is vital. Adopting a monitored approach to e-safety helps schools to recognize misuse as it occurs, so action can be taken when required.
Impero Education Pro’s e-safety features include a comprehensive key word dictionary. It cleverly highlights when a student types a word, phrase or acronym that may suggest cyberbullying, inappropriate behavior or those at potential risk. With this, schools can be assured that their students’ online activity is being closely monitored, without restricting their ability to learn and explore the internet safely.
Questions around cyberbullying and trolling were also put to the students, revealing that thirty-five per cent have been bullied, made fun of, or ‘trolled’ online. It can be difficult for young people to voice their concerns, particularly when they are a victim of abuse; vulnerable young people often feel isolated and unable to speak out. Providing an anonymous method of disclosure, such as Impero Education Pro’s Confide system, gives those students a voice. Available in the latest version of Impero Education Pro, the Confide system enables students to report a bullying concern, either about themselves or another pupil, with a member of staff.
So, if there’s a question mark hanging over your e-safety policy, consider why blocking isn’t the answer.
If you would like to find out more about how Impero can help maximise e-safety in your school, read about the e-safety features of Education Pro and Classroom Manager here.
*Based on a survey conducted with 203 students aged between 13 and 18.