Student playing games on a PC with his headphones on

How DSLs can advise students to stay safe when playing online games and apps

This month, Smoothwall is supporting Safer Internet Day 2022, empowering young people to be safe while using gaming platforms and apps. With statistics showing that a third of safeguarding concerns are coming from online platforms such as Discord, we want to support designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) with how to help keep students safe while gaming online.

With the world becoming increasingly more digital during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that online apps and gaming have increased in popularity among children and teens. In particular, according to Ofcom, 2020 saw nearly all children aged 5-15 active online, with 7 out of 10 using either laptops, tablets or mobile phones to do so.

Following this rise in online gaming usage among children, Smoothwall’s digital monitoring solution, which is designed to provide DSLs with the technology needed to detect risks while online gaming, has flagged more risks than ever before. In fact, our digital monitoring service identified at least two students at serious risk every day on three of the most popular gaming platforms.

What advice can DSLs give to students to help keep them safe? 

In 2021, our data, uncovered by the Smoothwall digital monitoring solution, revealed one student every five minutes experienced a risk online. This year’s Safer Internet Day  focus is on gaming and apps, so below we’ve highlighted some of the ways DSLs can help students, as well as the support our monitoring software can provide.

  • Be wary of online requests – ensure students understand they should only accept ‘friend’ requests from people they know in real life. Our digital monitoring solution found a seriously vulnerable child every 37 minutes in 2021, highlighting the importance of children knowing who they are accepting as friends particularly on gaming platforms that give students access to strangers through online gaming and forums.
  • Uploading photos – students need to be cautious before uploading and sharing photos on gaming platforms. It’s important they understand that once it’s uploaded, it’s no longer private and could be viewed by friends, family, teachers and strangers.
  • Online friends – if students have friends that they met online or on gaming platforms, it’s important they know to never agree to meet them in person. In 2021, our 24/7 human moderated monitoring service found three serious grooming incidents each day, so it’s essential for children to know who they are talking to. If they do arrange to meet an ‘online friend’ then they should always be advised to take an adult along with them.
  • Privacy is essential – students should avoid sharing personal information when using gaming platforms wherever possible, as it could be misused by someone in real life. Show them how to properly check their privacy settings and make sure that their accounts are secure.
  • Protecting their identity – advise them to use a username that isn’t their real name on every gaming platform they use, and a profile picture that doesn’t show any personal information, including their home or school uniform.

Helping schools and DSLs apply resources where they are needed most

Our monitoring service is human moderated 24/7 and allows DSLs to be notified immediately when behaviour on any school device could be considered a cause for concern, or even dangerous.

If you’re new to digital monitoring, our free whitepaper ‘A Complete Guide to Monitoring in Education’ is available to download here, and provides DSLs with everything you need to know.

If you’d like to learn more about how DSLs can identify and support students struggling with gaming trolls and threats, click here to read our other articles in this series.

Interested in the benefits digital monitoring offers?

Find out more about Smoothwall’s multi-award-winning Monitor solution. Clickhere to book a demo or a Q+A session with one of our monitoring experts.

Further reading

Other articles in this gaming series include:

Sources:

 

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