2017 has been another exciting year for everyone at SWGfL. Our online safety experts have travelled the globe, from Dubai and New Zealand, to Skegness and John O’Groats. We’ve created a range of new resources, forged new partnerships and connected with more of our audience than ever before.
So if you thought SWGfL was just about providing schools internet connections, think again!
There is no getting away from the fact that we are all constantly connected, and this extends to our children. 83% of 12 - 15 yr olds owning a smartphone, and they are no doubt prominent on a few Christmas lists again this year.
Technology brings with it considerable benefits, but it also poses a number of challenges. We regularly write articles and publish resources to help support parents and members of the children’s workforce, as well as help young people navigate their way through the ever-evolving digital world.
We cover a vast range of topics including purchasing safe Christmas presents, to highlighting the latest app, the rise in fake news, to mental wellbeing. We will continue to deliver content and services as we strive to support schools and parents with safe and empowering use of technology, for young people and for everyone.
Schools Internet Service
We are firmly in the throws of a digital revolution. Many of our children will start school knowing how to navigate a tablet device better than their parents. And Schools have a huge mountain to climb to stay ahead of this ever developing digital world. To do this they need a connection that is safe, secure and reliable.
SWGFL’s Schools Internet Service Team has been hard at work this year to ensure all schools are connected to the best possible available solution. From superfast broadband, to 1GB leased lines; getting schools onto the right connection AND saving money is something we believe passionately in.
Filtering and Monitoring
The revised statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ published last September is now in full force. In line with this we have now rolled out user based filtering to all our network users. Our customers now also benefit from enhanced monitoring and reporting facilities and we’re looking forward to more developments next year.
Earlier this year we launched our new Assisted Monitoring service. This service will keep an eye on schools’ monitoring systems and one of our online safety specialists will contact the school directly if an urgent issue is reported.
By capitalising on the unique skills and expertise within SWGfL We are able to offer schools peace of mind that the monitoring service their school provides is straightforward and effective.
As part of our role as a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre, we run the Professionals Online Safety Helpline, which provides members of the children’s workforce in the UK with advice and support with their online safety concerns. 2017 has seen a 34% increase in calls compared to last year, with most of the issues reported being around privacy, reputation and bullying.
We are also seeing an increase in calls regarding incidents becoming viral online, e.g. change of school uniform, and fake challenges such as Blue Whale and the 48 Hour Missing Challenge, and have published advice about these subjects.
Meanwhile the Revenge Porn Helpline, which we set up in 2015 to provide victims of image-based sexual abuse with non-judgemental advice, has seen contacts continue to rise by about 40% a year. We predict that we will have just over 2,000 cases per year in 2019 compared with just over 500 in 2015. Our removal rate of images is around 70% and this appears to be increasing, due to us becoming trusted flaggers by more sites.
The Barefoot computing programme continues to go from strength to strength. Barefoot helps support primary school teachers to understand and teach computing. It has now reached over 1.5 million primary pupils through the Barefoot resources. Haven’t accessed yours yet and want to find out more?
Thank-you and Merry Xmas!
It’s incredible to see what we have achieved together in just one year and so exciting to think what it just around the corner. With the introduction of GDPR and of course Safer Internet Day 2018, next year looks to be even bigger and even better. So from everyone here at SWGfL we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic new year.