A student’s perspective: Education Pro blocks threats that want to access us
1st March 2017
Daniel Mountain, a student from Rushcliffe School, recently spent a week at Impero gaining work experience across the business, including sales, marketing and development. In this blog, he discusses how the changing digital landscape is impacting the issues that young people face online, including other users and cyberbullying, and how Impero Education Pro has helped to keep him, and his peers, safe online.
Even without the internet there are more than enough safety concerns for students – bullying, eating disorders, crime. The internet provides a plethora of threats to students ranging from other users to online content, with risks such as cyber bullying and viruses constantly threatening safety. Both the virtual and physical threats to students seem too vast to monitor and handle, especially given the ever-changing social climate which makes staying on top of new issues almost impossible.
As a student who goes to a school which uses Education Pro, it’s not hard to see the ability that the software has to both prevent these threats and detect when they may be affecting a student. I fortunately have not been affected by many of the issues facing students online in over 6 years, but I feel a lot of that is down to the job Impero does within the school. For me, and the majority of students, it’s not necessarily preventing students from optionally accessing the threats, but rather Impero’s ability to block threats that want to access us.
Everyone knows the internet can be accessed by anyone and not all of these people will use it with good intentions. It may seem obvious to avoid public chat rooms or not to contact someone you do not know via the internet, however it’s exceptionally easy to end up on various parts of the internet we did not intend to access and even be tricked into thinking we are on with people who are someone they’re not. This is not necessarily a threat to older, more experienced users, but for younger students it is very easy to feel trapped by these threats. It can cause a lot of panic and distress leading to further problems, such as downloading a virus claiming to “fix” these issues, putting the entire network at risk as well as the student’s safety. This may seem like a difficult issue to handle – how can you know if a site is safe or not? Who can a student access on that site? Impero does an incredible job of locking these sites off before they even become a risk, keeping students safe from these risks and keeping the school’s network safe from infiltration.
Cyberbullying is one of the most documented and well-known issues on the internet, yet still some schools fail to control and monitor it. While all forms of bullying are hard to detect, cyberbullying is even more hidden – with the click of a button all prior evidence can be destroyed and without seeing a student’s screen it can go unnoticed by a teacher. In my opinion, this is one of the best features Impero offers; it can monitor cyberbullying in a way nothing else I have come across can. Using an enormous library of keywords, Impero will alert the school as soon as a keyword is triggered, enabling the school to know exactly what and who has been the cause of the alert (even before the recipient can read it), allowing those who feel helpless to receive help without feeling vulnerable. As this library is updated constantly with the help of organisations who specialise in certain areas of cyberbullying, cyberbullying risks will not go unnoticed by the system, allowing schools to prevent instances of cyberbullying that may arise.
There is one thing all students and teachers deal with on a computer. Getting distracted. It is difficult enough for teachers to keep students engaged for an hour in a classroom, so how can teachers keep students on task when, in seconds, they could be playing a game or talking to their friends via the internet? Impero is the most comprehensive software I have seen in both monitoring students’ activities on computers but also doing something about it. It has an extensive range of tools for making teaching on computers both more efficient and more productive. In seconds, a teacher can watch all of their students’ monitors to both check the work they are doing and that they are actually doing the work. The website blocker tool can prevent students from accessing many distracting sites but also has a feature to block certain files programs; for example, ‘Microsoft paint’ is somehow more interesting than a PowerPoint presentation, access can be restricted. If, however, students are continuously watching something on the screen the “Block Screen” feature is possibly the most effective way to restore the class’ focus. If I were to explain the vast amount of tools Impero offers, I would need a second blog! The wide range of features are both more diverse and effective than any others I have seen.
I believe that, as students, many times we under-value how much Impero actually does for us, as it isn’t simply a website blocker to stop us playing games. It keeps students safe and on task to help them achieve their full potential when using the computers and, without it, I feel as though my experience using computers in school could have been significantly different; rather than being able to focus on my work, I would have many other concerns and distractions preventing my progress and putting me at risk.