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Back-to-school internet safety advice as children return to the classroom

  • New research from connectivity provider TalkTalk reveals that 99% of children aged 7 to 13 will have access to internet enabled tech when they go back to school*
  • Half of parents are concerned about the content their child could access when using internet-enabled technology for school related tasks at home*
  • TalkTalk and Internet Matters share advice on how parents can keep children safe online

6th September, 2022: As we start the new school year, TalkTalk and Internet Matters have issued safety advice to parents whose children may be having access to internet enabled devices for the first time.

 

Research from TalkTalk reveals that almost every (99%)* child heading back to school this week will have access to internet enabled tech either at home or in school. Parents overwhelmingly see the internet as a force for good, and the advice is aimed to help those who may be unsure how to approach the topic with their young children.

 

8 in 10 parents say their child has developed new skills as a result of spending time online**. Parents cited the ability to access educational websites i.e. BBC Bitesize (65%) as a key benefit, as well as conducting research (52%) and playing online games that help to develop creative skills (51%)**. Despite this, a third do admit that they have no idea what their children get up to online **.

 

Over half (54%)* of 7 to 13-year-olds are now spending up to two hours of their after-school time online, with the top three most common school tasks being online homework (79%), reading (40%) and talking to classmates (29%)*.

 

However, this access to new tech has led to concern among parents about other content their child could access while using internet enabled technology for their schoolwork (50%)*. Network data from TalkTalk shows that the use of smart plugs, typically used to connect voice assistants to a power source, has increased by 47% over the past year***. Suggesting that the range of internet enabled technology available to young people at home is growing.

 

Earlier this year, TalkTalk’s research around the Online Safety Bill found that 65% of parents see unregulated online spaces such as chatrooms and the metaverse as a huge risk to their children***. Other concerns include talking to other online users (68%), social media (63%) and online gaming (45%)***.

 

In fact, 74% of parents say they use internet safety tools, such as blocking certain websites or filtering tools to limit their child’s access to certain content and 64% of parents say they are trying to reduce the amount of time their child spends online***.

 

Matthew, parent of two (aged 7 and 9) said, “From an early age my children have used mobile devices, tablets, and computers as part of their learning, at home and school. As they grow older, and begin to use internet enabled tech more, I have concerns around online safety on open platforms (i.e. social media) or socially interactive games. Both of my kids play with their friends on Minecraft for example, but they’ve been instructed not to talk to or “friend” strangers, and we monitor this on an ad hoc basis.”

 

“Having access to the right information when it comes to online safety – whether that’s tangible resources like home security tech or expert tips – is invaluable while navigating the transitional period as children begin to spend more time online.”

 

TalkTalk has partnered with Internet Matters, an organisation set up to help parents keep their children safe online. Internet Matters’ website holds an abundance of practical information about how to talk to children about their online presence, including a back to school online safety guide that parents may benefit from this week.

 

They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety: They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety:

 

  1. Practise open and honest conversations with your child, as it will mean they are more likely to approach you if they feel unsafe online.
  2. Ensure you are aware of the school’s online learning policy. Schools have now developed these for children’s safety, and you should be able to find it on your child’s school website.

 

  1. Set boundaries around when and for how long your child is allowed to use tech, which apps and websites they can access, who they can contact and how they should behave online. Agree this together so they feel part of the decision-making process.

 

  1. Make sure that they know what to do if they come across unpleasant content – depending on their age it may be more appropriate for them to tell you rather than try and deal with it themselves.

 

  1. Consider adding a web filter, such as TalkTalk’s HomeSafe feature, to your home Wi-Fi to block inappropriate content and set time limits for gaming and social media websites. You should also ensure that your security features are up to scratch.

 

TalkTalk’s Head of Customer Security, Mark Johnson, says: “As a parent I know how worrying it could be not knowing what your child is getting up to online. Online security is key to us at TalkTalk, which is why we work with Internet Matters to offer advice for parents who may not know how to approach the topic of online safety with their children or where to find resources and tools to help keep their children safe.”

 

Schools to benefit from bolstered cybersecurity resilience package launched in response to National Cyber Security Centre alert

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning is set to bolster online defences for schools in response to the National Cyber Security Centre’s alert to act now following Russia’s attack on the Ukraine,” says John Jackson, CEO, whose organisation has stepped up its cybersecurity resilience package to include monitoring, identification, sandboxing1 and the eradication of ever-evolving threats from phishing attempts, malware, hacks, viruses and ransomware. LGfL has provided services to the public sector over many years and is approved by the governing bodies for the Public Service Network (PSN) and Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) to provide secure access to systems across the public sector, including central government systems.

Newly appointed as the only UK Platinum Partner for Malwarebytes, LGfL is using its significant group buying power to supply schools with cybersecurity solutions at significantly discounted prices,  to help  safeguard their ever tightening budgets and their mass procured devices purchased for remote learning during lockdown.

In addition to the existing Incident Response (threat remediation), LGfL is now able to offer:

  • Endpoint Protection (threat prevention)
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (threat prevention, monitoring, sandboxing, isolation and rollback)
  • Endpoint Protection for Servers (threat prevention for servers)
  • Endpoint Detection and Response for Servers (threat prevention, monitoring, sandboxing, isolation and rollback for servers).

Using its Malwarebytes OneView console, LGfL will also be able to give third party support organisations (PSOs) greater visibility and control over what is happening across multiple sites. It will also be able to provide full information on licences issued/used through its OneView Portal and recover and redistribute any unused licences, helping schools to save money.  Existing licences will be transferred on to the console.  

Through its full CyberCloud solution, LGfL is now also able to offer 12 layers of protection to schools using its Let’s Get Digital Broadband Service, including:

  1. JANET:IP transit and DDoS (Denial of Service) protection – cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the normal traffic of a target’s servers, services, or networks by overwhelming the infrastructure, at or around the target, with a large amount of Internet traffic
  2. Core firewalls to protect the network – a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules
  3. Security Operations Centre – alerting and monitoring to protect the network
  4. Local school firewalls
  5. Sophos antivirus for workstations, servers and home use – software that detects and cleans up viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware and other malicious applications
  6. Intercept X managed threat response for workstations and servers – anti-ransomware technology that detects malicious encryption processes and shuts them down before they can spread across a network. Intercept X prevents both file-based and master boot record ransomware
  7. Meraki Mobile Device Management – that allows users to manage mobile devices from the cloud in a secure environment
  8. Malwarebytes incident response and automated remediation – that detects and removes malware from computers
  9. Email protection including MailProtect filtering (Cloudmark) – a cloud-hosted, email filtering system that harnesses the combined strength of multiple market-leading technologies to offer protection against email-borne viruses, malware, fraud and phishing, as well as filtering unwanted bulk mail.  And Egress encryption which encrypts the message so that it is secure in transit and when it reaches the recipient.
  10. Web filtering – provided by Webscreen a highly flexible web filtering system designed to allow establishments and groups, such as MATs, to have access to local filtering settings and Netsweeper which enables organizations to protect internet users from harmful online content and provides web filtering, digital monitoring, and online activity reporting solutions to ensure digital safety on-premises and in remote environments
  11. End user training including Sophos Phish Threat which educates and tests end users through automated attack simulations, quality security awareness training, and actionable reporting metrics
  12. Research and awareness – National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Security Audit and Newsletters etc.

 

For further information on LGfL’s cybersecurity resilience packages please contact: Gareth Jelley, LGfL’s Cyber Security Centre of Excellence 0208 2555 555 (Option 3)

 

  1. Sandboxing  keeps potentially malicious programs or unsafe code isolated from the rest of the organization’s environment. This way, it can be analysed safely, without compromising the operating system or host devices. If a threat is detected, it can be removed proactively.

FREE WORKSHOPS TO TRAIN TEACHERS AS FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE IN ONLINE SAFETY

Teachers are being invited to take part in free online workshops to help them keep pupils safe online being held by award-winning youth engagement agency Beatfreeks.

The ‘Train the Trainer’ webinars, which which will to equip teachers with the skills to support young people aged between 11 and 16 to stay safe online, will begin this week as part of the UK wide Be Internet Citizens campaign – delivered by Birmingham based youth engagement agency Beatfreeks, supported by Google.org and Youtube. 

According to research by The Institute of Strategic Dialogue, an estimated 1 in 3 British children aged 12-15 have encountered sexist, racist or discriminatory content online while 38% of young people say that social media has a negative impact on how they feel about themselves.

With education professionals spending a large proportion of the working week with their students, they are often the first port of call for young people making it increasingly important that they are aware of potential issues that their students may be facing as well as having the skills to address them. 

From Thursday 11th February, teachers, safeguarding leads, deputy and head teachers are invited to take part in the free 2 hour and 30 minute sessions, which will tackle issues including fake news and misinformation, unconscious bias, discrimination and the difference between free speech and hate speech. 

The interactive sessions aim to deconstruct misconceptions around the ever changing digital world while building teacher’s confidence in teaching these complex subjects in a way that is both structured and engaging for young people. Accredited by the PHSE Association, the training feeds into key areas of the national curriculum including RSHE, Prevent and SMSC.

As well as receiving training from a team of expert facilitators, which qualifies as a Continuing Professional Development activity,  attendees will also be provided with a suite of resources to help them deliver lessons to their students, including session plans, supporting handouts and reflective journal templates. 

Founded in 2013 by social entrepreneur Anisa Morridadi, Beatfreeks was established to address the growing divide between young people and the institutions that were meant to support them. The initiative began as an experiment – a Poetry Jam held in Anisa’s home city of Birmingham which offered young people the opportunity to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings, allowing for genuine insight into grass roots youth culture. 

Beatfreeks now works with companies across the UK to offer insight and youth engagement, connecting them with a community of young creatives and offering the opportunity to consult on existing ideas, collaborate on new ones and shape a culture that stays ahead of the curve. 

Founder and CEO Anisa Morridadi said: “Digital consumption has accelerated over the last 18 months with our research showing an estimated 99% of young people actively using social media platforms. Social media is an incredible resource but it’s crucial that young people have the awareness and the skills to stay safe in a digital world and that educators have the right resources to support them to do that.

“With a digital world that is ever changing, it can be tough for teachers to keep up with new developments. These free sessions are a fantastic way for teachers to not only become confident in speaking about current trends but we hope that they will empower them to address what can be difficult subjects, like online harassment, stereotyping and hate speech head on.”

For those unable to attend the session later this month, further sessions will be held on Thursday 10th March, Tuesday 29th March and Thursday 26th May. For more information or to secure your place, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/beatfreeks-presents-be-internet-citizens-31198017043