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2. Preventing Cyberbullying


2.5.1It is important for the adults in the school community to understand how children and young people think about and use technology. ICT is increasingly recognised as an essential life skill, and embedding technology across the curriculum and in learning and teaching delivery provides opportunities and benefits for both learners and staff members.

2.5.2 New technologies are being developed all the time, so keeping up-to-date and informed about young people’s use of technologies, as well as their potential abuse and risks, is very important. While children and young people are experts on their own use and can be a valuable source of information about the technology, they may not necessarily understand all of the risks involved and the strategies for keeping their experience of technology safe and enjoyable (see ‘Understanding cyberbullying’ section).

2.5.3Developing an organisational culture of confident ICT users supports innovation, e-safety and digital literacy skills, and helps to combat misuse and high-risk activities.

Review existing staff development targets and opportunities

2.5.4Technology is successfully being used to support engaging, positive and effective learning, and to realise and increase the potential of personalised learning. The embedding of appropriate technologies within learning and teaching practice is a powerful tool which can be used to enhance learning opportunities for all – making learning more flexible, creative, accessible and engaging. Staff development around e-learning and technology provides a great opportunity for staff to both develop their own practice creatively and to support children and young people in their safe and responsible use.

2.5.5 As part of the performance management process line managers will be working with teachers to identify what professional development might help them develop their practice further. Where appropriate, schools should look at e-safety issues as an important component of technology for education for all members of the school community including school leaders and governors, as well as teachers, support staff and extended schools provision staff.

Promote e-safety and digital literacy

2.5.6Explore safe ways of using technology with learners to support self-esteem, assertiveness, and participation and to develop friendships. Young people are more likely to report the misuse of technology in an environment where positive use is promoted.

2.5.7 Appropriate, safe and responsible behaviour in online environments may not be something that your learners have previously discussed or been supported in. Look at the ways in which you can support and discuss ‘netiquette’, e-safety and digital literacy.

2.5.8 Ensure that all staff and students are aware of the importance of keeping passwords confidential and user accounts secure. It is also important that everyone knows how to properly log out of accounts, and that students and staff members never leave logged in accounts unattended.

Password protection: Everyone in the school community needs to understand the importance of keeping account information private and secure – for example, by using hard-to-guess passwords and changing them frequently. Children who have online accounts of any kind need to be aware that they should never share their passwords (exceptions here could include a parent or carer, teacher or ICT support staff member at school), and never let anyone use their accounts.

The school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – the agreement between pupils and the school which outlines the responsibilities of learners using the school’s computer network and equipment – may usefully refer to password privacy (see item H in the ‘Resources’ section for an example AUP). We also advise that it is covered in any internet safety lessons or induction to school accounts that might be password protected (e.g. the VLE).

2.5.9Childnet International has produced a range of resources which can be used in the classroom or to support individual learners, staff members and parents:

Review how the school network is monitored

2.5.10The ability to conduct searches of internet use records at school is an important part of being able to investigate incidents of cyberbullying (see ‘Responding to cyberbullying’ section). Your school may want to review and investigate available software, for example monitoring software and key logging programmes. It is important that learners are aware of what monitoring procedures are in place. Knowing that the school is taking such steps may also act as a disincentive for bullies to misuse school equipment and systems. However, it is important to remember that using technology to monitor, block or filter activity at school is only a partial solution.