e-Safety and cyberbullying news

What’s happening in the world of e-safety, especially in the UK? Here are some interesting items from the November 2010 issue of Computers in Classrooms, the free e-newsletter for those with a professional interest in educational ICT. The items include:

  • Research into types of bullying;
  • Research into technology and behaviour;
  • The Beat Bullying website; and
  • Safer Internet Day and a competition from Childnet.

Image belongs to Chesi-Fotos CC -- see http://www.flickr.com/photos/pimkie_fotos/


It’s recently been anti-bullying week in the UK. (It would be nice to think that every week was anti-bullying week, wouldn’t it?! Still, it’s good to have a special focus on it from time to time.) Here are some facts, figures and links you might like to look at.

Types of bullying

Over 35,000 children aged 11 to 18 from almost 100 secondary schools were asked questions as part of the NFER Attitude Surveys about the types of bullying they had experienced over their last 12 months and why they think they may have been bullied. The full analysis can be found at:  www.nfer.ac.uk/asur, where you will be able to download the report for free.

‘Being left out’ is more common amongst girls than boys. However, it was found that the link between this type of bullying and poor emotional wellbeing is stronger in boys.

Other findings from the analysis include:

  • The most common type of bullying is verbal abuse.
  • For girls, ‘unwanted sexual contact’ was found to be the type of bullying most strongly associated with poor emotional wellbeing. However, this type of bullying is relatively rare.
  • Pupils are less likely to be victims of the majority of types of bullying once they enter sixth form (at age 17).
  • Physical bullying more commonly affects boys than girls.

Pupils who have been the victim of bullying are most likely to mention ‘lies or rumours’ about them or their appearance as the reason they think they have been bullied.

Technology and behaviour

I don’t normally publish press releases as such, but the following one is interesting because of the approach taken. A data management and security company has teamed up with an educational charity and an e-safety software company to reduce cyberbullying. From looking at the Redstor E-safety website it seems that Redstor provides the technology to enable a school to monitor what’s going on, and, for example, capture the use of inappropriate words. The partnership it has entered into with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (see below) seems to me like a sensible way of going about things. I was especially impressed by someone saying it’s a behavioural issue, not simply a technical one. Anyway, Paul Evans, MD at Redstor, a data management and security company, writes:

The safety of youngsters online is covered extensively in the news. Child protection experts warn that increasing numbers of young people are leaving themselves vulnerable online.

38% of children between the ages of 11 and 17 have received an inappropriate message either through text, email or Internet messaging. As a result, many organisations including Local Authorities, Schools and private sector organisations have endeavoured to address these issues but have been unable to pool their resources effectively to create an all inclusive solution. Less tangible but equally important areas such as education, behavioural monitoring and the issue of how to act once a problem has been highlighted are being missed.

The partnership between Redstor, Securus (which produces e-safety software for schools) and the Lucy Faithful Foundation (a charity concerned with reducing the sexual exploitation of children) has been created to tackle all aspects of online protection.

Businesses must ensure they focus not only on the technology to monitor online activity, such as access to harmful web sites, the unsafe or inappropriate use of email, computer programs and online applications, but also ensure they are aware of who should be involved in this monitoring activity e.g. teachers, LAs, parents etc. and what to do when an issue has been identified.

Redstor has a very strong customer base in the education sector, which allows partners such as Securus to target their e-Safety technology more appropriately ensuring schools and teachers have the vital tools to identify and evidence inappropriate online activity. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation can then step in and provide appropriate support and best practice advice to those involved.

Sally-Ann Griffiths, Director of E-safety at Securus Software, believes it is very important for businesses to pool their resources and work together, she comments: “We shouldn’t just look at the technology when discussing online threats; there is a behavioural issue to address first, which is where education and training is crucial.” She describes Redstor E-Safety as a unique solution, developed to ensure a safe online working environment for pupils and teachers by capturing ICT issues and misuse.

It is important for all organisations to ensure they have the relevant systems in place to identify, protect against and support youngsters in relation to online threats. All stakeholders have to take their share of the responsibility to ensure each aspect of the problem is addressed appropriately and work together in providing an all-inclusive solution.

One thing people need to be wary of are systems that are too efficient. I once visited a school where most of one year group had been banned from using the internet because of doing “inappropriate” searches – for the “Bloody Tower” in their history lessons!

Lesson plans and resources: The Beat Bullying Website

I’ve had a quick look around this website, and it seems pretty good. It’s intended for the UK, but would work anywhere I think. See what you think.


Safer Internet Day

Pippa Green of Childnet writes:

As February 7th 2012 is rapidly approaching, with it comes Safer Internet Day. We are happy to be able to share with you the launch of the UK Safer Internet Centre resource packs for both Primary and Secondary schools. This year’s theme aims to encourage pupils to think about their internet use, and the way that other age groups user the internet, and internet-enabled devices. Pupils will need to consider the ways in which different generations can teach each other about the internet, and share their experiences with one another, to promote discussion and understanding across the age groups. Pupils will be inspired to discuss their experiences with their families, therefore facilitating opportunities for safety advice to be shared in a constructive way.

For this year’s Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre challenges your school to:

Secondary (High) Schools

Use the lesson plan to enable debate and discussion surrounding internet issues. Challenge young people to understand the concerns of other generations. Showcase your debate to peers, parents, carers and grandparents; and give them the chance to join in!

Create an awareness raising campaign in your school to encourage all generations of the local community to connect to the internet safely!

Primary (Elementary) Schools

Use the lesson plan to enable your pupils to share their internet knowledge with their peers and with a selected audience within the community, to facilitate an exciting and collaborative group   learning experience.

Create a class song / jingle / rap / short play or sketch titled “How we connect online and why we love the internet” IN ADVANCE of Safer Internet Day that can be showcased at the end of the SID assembly on 7 February 2012.

For full supporting material, lesson plans and teacher guidance visit Safer Internet Day Schools Pack, to ensure your school is involved in Safer Internet Day 2012!   

Share with us the great things you do on February 7th for SID 2012 by emailing us at enquiries@saferinternet.org.uk and don’t forget to send your logo and we will put it up on our homepage!

These items appeared originally in Computers in Classrooms. Why not subscribe now by clicking the link? It’s free!

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