Image of school student typing on a keyboard

How proactive digital monitoring can help you to spot vulnerable key worker children throughout COVID-19

If you have key worker children in your school, you’ll no doubt be concerned for their wellbeing. Away from their peers and afraid for their parents’ safety, they’re likely to feel anxious or fearful and be in need of extra support.

DSLs across the UK will be trying as best they can to keep a close eye on their keyworker students. But with everything else going on, it’s a challenging task to say the least.

Added to this is the alarming rise in online predatory behaviour as paedophiles seek to exploit frightened children during this time.

Europol, the European Police Agency, believe child abusers are taking full advantage and ”welcoming opportunities to engage with children” in online forums and boards. Last week the National Crime Agency (NCA) Investigators say they have identified offenders discussing opportunities to abuse children during the crisis in chats online.

What can be done?

Proactive digital monitoring acts as an extra pair of eyes and ears for Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), finding and alerting them to children at-risk – children who may otherwise go unnoticed.

Proactive monitoring technology, working alongside human moderators, flags children at risk of harm suggested by their online activities, search behaviour or use of apps – even whilst offline.

Serious risks, such as cybersexual activity; bullying; mental health issues; substance abuse; gang activity; exploitation and abuse; self-harm, grooming and radicalisation can be picked up in real-time if a pupil has used their keyboard to view content, message someone, look for information, type out their feelings – even if they delete it immediately, or never press ‘send’.

Human moderators separate genuine risk from false positives enabling DSLs to respond quickly and appropriately. The quicker the intervention the better the outcome. In 2019 Smoothwall Monitor found a student facing a serious risk to their health or life every 3 minutes. That’s 5009 children who could otherwise have been overlooked.

With new threats emerging during this uncertain time and students facing all kinds of added stress factors, proactive digital monitoring technology is becoming a crucial part of a school’s safeguarding strategy. It’s no exaggeration to say that the safety and even lives of students could depend on it.

Further reading

For further reading on proactive digital monitoring, download our whitepaper.

Book a walk-through

You can also book an online walk-through of Smoothwall Monitor. Simply decide a date and time of your choosing, invite any colleagues along too and a Smoothwall expert will explain how it works, how other schools are using it, and answer any questions you might have.

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