The following post is written by Mike Anderiesz, our lead government affairs writer, and ahead of tomorrow’s Safer Internet Day, he looks at some of the ways in which parents, teachers and schools can help protect young people as they use the internet.
February 9th is Safer Internet Day; a valuable reminder of all the ways we can help ensure kids have the safest, most secure web experience possible. And if there’s one place parents have a right to expect the highest standards, it’s at school.
In fact back in December, UK Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan outlined new plans to require schools to put in place strengthened measures to protect children from harm online; including cyber bullying, pornography and the risk of radicalisation. For all these reasons, schools and teachers are soon going to be under added pressure over the safety measures they recommend, whether at school or home.
For instance, there’s Bing SafeSearch; a unique feature of the Bing search engine that automatically filters out many types of inappropriate content. Today in the UK, thousands of pupils already enjoy automatic access to SafeSearch in their classrooms; offering peace of mind to parents, faster and more productive browsing, and ensuring that teachers can concentrate on their main purpose; using technology to provide more immersive and effective lessons rather than worrying about accidental or potentially offensive content reaching their pupils.
RM Education is just one ICT solutions partner who uses SafeSearch at a network level to provide safe Internet access to over 3000 schools across the UK:
“By adding this functionality to the network our customers are not required to do a single thing,” explained Alistair Goulden, Head of Internet and Esafety services “…they can rest assured that access to the Bing search engine is safe and suitable for their school community. This, along with our age appropriate filtering, comprehensive CPD for staff as well as monitoring of ICT usage, enables schools to take more control of the Internet and make it a safer, more fun place for today’s young people.”
Luckily, Bing SafeSearch is dead easy to use, and once set up on an individual computer or Network, will deliver safer search results every time. However, it is only one of the measures at our disposal:
Making Web browsing safer at school or home.
1) For individual computers, simply head to www.bing.com and click on the Settings icon on the right of the screen. This will take you to a screen offering 3 levels of protection; Strict, Moderate and Off – whichever one you select will be remembered for subsequent Bing searches.
2) Alternatively, your IT Network Manager can easily set up SafeSearch across all computers and browsers in your school network using a Virtual IP solution. There are detailed instruction on how to do it here.
3) Once your school has enabled SafeSearch, if a pupil brings their own device to school and logs onto the school network their searches will be governed by the same added safety measures.
4) Finally, for homework or any online activity outside school, make sure you have created a child account for anyone under the age of 16. This not only produces safer searches, but allows you to set parental controls including which sites younger kids can visit and the amount of time they spend online. You can then monitor their activity through the monthly reports you will receive by email.
Find out about this – and the host of other safety features built into Windows and most leading Microsoft products by visiting our Family Safety site.