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Supporting Safer Internet Day 2024

February 5, 2024
4 minute read

Kelly Fisher-Beasley, Trainer & Coach, The Early Years Company Birmingham South

As early years professionals, we have survived January and the post Christmas blues and now look to February and what that potentially brings us in opportunities. 

To kickstart February, we are supporting Safer Internet Day 2024 on the  6th which is celebrated globally each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people, and to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.

The internet offers limitless opportunities for our children to explore and learn, however we know there are also many threats and inappropriate content that our children can be exposed to or access. 

So how do we reduce that risk in our settings? 

Following the updates to Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2023, settings need to be aware of increased expectations and responsibilities regarding the filtering and monitoring systems for IT in the setting. In simple terms, this means following the standards set and ensuring your IT systems have appropriate filtering. 

What standards should we be adhering to?  Do you need to take action?

  • The DSL is expected to take lead responsibility for filtering and monitoring, and this should be explicit in the role holder’s job description -  have you updated your DSL job description to reflect this? Does your DSL know this part of their responsibility?
  • All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which now includes an understanding of expectations, applicable roles, and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring - have you recently reviewed your training matrix to ensure all staff receive training specifically for online safety and filtering and monitoring? 
  • Owners/directors/proprietors of settings should also receive safeguarding training which includes an understanding of the expectations, applicable roles, and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring. Paragraph 141 of the guidance now states the following: ‘Governing bodies and proprietors should consider the number of and age range of their children, those who are potentially at greater risk of harm and how often they access the IT system along with the proportionality of costs versus safeguarding risks.’ - have you communicated to your nursery owners that they too need to access training? 
  • Block harmful and inappropriate content without unreasonably impacting teaching and learning do you know what is deemed inappropriate content? Whilst no filter is 100% effective, settings should be satisfied that their filtering and monitoring system manages the following content:
    Discrimination  - Promotes the unjust or prejudicial treatment of people on thegrounds of race, religion, age, or sex.
    Drugs / Substance abuse -  displays or promotes the illegal use of drugs or substances
    Extremism- promotes terrorism and terrorist ideologies, violence or intolerance
    Malware / Hacking  - promotes the compromising of systems including anonymous browsing and other filter bypass tools as well as sites hosting malicious content
    Pornography - displays sexual acts or explicit images
    Piracy and copyright theft - includes illegal provision of copyrighted material
    Self Harm -  promotes or displays deliberate self harm (including suicide andeating disorders)
    Violence -  Displays or promotes the use of physical force intended to hurt or kill

It should also be noted that this is not an exhaustive list and as a provider you should be able to demonstrate how your system manages this content.

So as we look to support our curious little learners with the internet, please ensure that you have read and understand your responsibilities to safeguard your children whilst online and embed the filtering and monitoring standards in your setting.

UK Safer Internet Centre have also created some fantastic resources for children ages 3-7 which can be found here if you wish to celebrate Safer Internet Day with us on the 6th February. This includes ideas for activities to 'Inspire Change', 'Make a Difference', 'Managing Influence' and 'Navigating Change online' values that we at The Early Years Company uphold ourselves in many ways. 

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