What online safety measures should be in place in schools and colleges?

ai dangers safeguarding onlinesafety schools teachers Apr 09, 2024
online safety

Keeping children safe in education 2023 outlines a variety of measures that should be in place in schools and colleges to ensure online safety. Here's a summary of the key points related to online safety:

  1. An Effective Approach to Online Safety: Schools and colleges should have an effective approach to online safety that protects and educates the whole school or college community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in, and escalate any incident where appropriate.
  2. The Online Safety Policy: This should be reflected in the whole school or college approach to safeguarding and child protection. The policy should include measures to identify, intervene, and escalate any exposure to harmful content, contact with potentially dangerous individuals, and conduct (such as cyberbullying and sexting).
  3. Filtering and Monitoring: Schools and colleges should ensure appropriate levels of filtering and monitoring systems are in place. It's imperative to be clear about the level of monitoring that's taking place and why it's being done to identify and protect the students. See more below for definitions of filtering and monitoring.
  4. Education and Curriculum: Children should be taught about safeguarding, including online safety, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. This education should be ongoing and embedded in student's experiences.
  5. Mobile Technology and Personal Devices: Policies should extend to the use of mobile technology and personal devices. While recognising their benefits for teaching and learning, there should be clear rules on their use to prevent and protect students from harm.
  6. Staff Training and Awareness: All staff should receive safeguarding and child protection training, which includes online safety. This should inform them about the school's or college's individual safeguarding policy and procedures, including the online safety policy.
  7. Governance: Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that the school or college has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place and consider the age range and needs of their pupils/students. They should ensure that policies are reviewed regularly and that practices are in accordance with local and national guidance.
  8. Supporting Parents and Carers: Schools and colleges should provide practical support and advice to parents and carers on keeping their children safe online, recognising the crucial role they play in children's education and the challenges they may face.

These measures illustrate a comprehensive approach to online safety, integrating policy, education, technology, and community engagement to protect children in educational settings.

More on Filtering and monitoring

Filtering and monitoring are key components of an effective online safety strategy in schools and colleges, as outlined in the "Keeping children safe in education 2023" document. Here is an explanation based on the document's guidance:


Filtering refers to the process of preventing users from accessing content that is inappropriate or harmful. In the context of schools and colleges, filtering systems are employed to block access to internet content that may be considered illegal, unsafe, or not suitable for children and young people. This could include content related to extremism, pornography, or hate speech. Filtering systems aim to protect students from being exposed to these types of content while they are using school or college networks, including when they access the internet on their personal devices if they are connected to the institution's network.


Monitoring is the process of keeping track of users' online activities to identify potential risks or issues related to e-safety. In educational settings, monitoring systems are used to oversee and record internet use, email, and other online communications to detect patterns of behavior that may indicate a safeguarding concern, such as cyberbullying, access to harmful content, or communication with potentially dangerous individuals. Monitoring helps schools and colleges to intervene promptly and take appropriate action to safeguard students. It is important, however, that the monitoring is carried out in a manner that respects students' privacy and is compliant with relevant legal and ethical standards.

Purpose and Implementation

Both filtering and monitoring are implemented to create a safer online environment for children and young people within educational settings. They are part of a broader strategy that includes educating students on online safety, developing robust policies and procedures for safeguarding, and engaging the whole school or college community in creating a culture of safety and respect online.

It's crucial for schools and colleges to ensure that their filtering and monitoring systems are effective, fit for purpose, and regularly reviewed. This includes being mindful of the balance between safeguarding students and respecting their privacy and rights. Schools and colleges need to be clear about the level of monitoring that is taking place, the reasons for it, and the policies surrounding its use, ensuring transparency with students, staff, and parents/carers.

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