In May 2021 the definitions of ‘appropriate monitoring’ for schools and colleges were updated by the UK Safer Internet Centre. The new definition advises that all schools and colleges should consider some sort of digital monitoring, except if those of considered low risk or with a 1:1 supervisory setting.
There are many different digital monitoring strategies, solutions, and services available, and it is crucial for schools and colleges to implement the right choice for them. In this blog, we look at proactive monitoring and how it can support Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) to keep their students safe.
What is proactive monitoring?
Proactive monitoring is a fully managed service that combines AI technology and human expertise to help schools and colleges protect their students in their digital environment. It identifies children and young people at risk based on their online activities, search behaviour, and use of apps.
If a risk is identified, a member of the moderation team is alerted by the system and reviews the reported incident. The human moderators separate genuine risks from false positives and only alert the schools and colleges to genuine issues that need to be dealt with.
Proactive monitoring solutions could be seen as an extension of the internal safeguarding teams in schools and colleges, as providers often work closely together to ensure pupil’s safety.
How can proactive monitoring help DSLs?
Proactive monitoring offers many benefits and helps DSLs concentrate on providing support to children and young people that need it. Proactive monitoring provides an extra a pair of eyes and ears in the school’s digital environment, alerting DSLs to any often-hidden safeguarding risks.
Children and young people spend more time online than ever before with many using it to communicate with friends, keep up to date with what is happening in the world, and find information they need or want. Many young people use the internet to find answers to questions they are often worried to talk out loud about or may sometimes use it to confide in their friends if they have issues. This is why proactive monitoring is so important. It makes invisible risks, visible, and without it, many safeguarding risks would go unnoticed or noticed too late.
Proactive monitoring helps save DSLs’ time by minimising internal admin tasks and only alerting them to genuine risks and concerns that need investigating. This empowers DSLs to focus on fast intervention and support for the children and young people that need it.
Additionally, proactive monitoring also offers 24/7 support. Students are protected at all times and all identified incidents are reported quickly enabling DSLs to intervene early. This often provides better results and prevents online risks from becoming a real-life incidents.
Furthermore, proactive monitoring helps to identify inappropriate and harmful behaviours and trends, which can be used by the DSLs and school/college leaders to educate their pupils as well as create a safe and supportive digital safety culture in their communities. The data can be used to design more targeted actions and provides invaluable knowledge of what students are currently dealing with aside from education.
Many schools and colleges are shocked by what proactive digital monitoring can reveal, which is why it is important to be reviewed and tested in your own digital environment. Only then you will be able to see and understand how it can benefit you and your students.
Download Smoothwall’s latest report ‘The Complete Guide to Active and Proactive Monitoring’ below to learn more, click here to download.
Alternatively, Smoothwall are running FREE online training sessions dedicated to each DSL and their school, college or MAT. The Smoothwall team will walk you through everything you need to know about digital monitoring.
The sessions are free of charge and last approximately 1 hour. To schedule yours please click here.