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16 Mar 2018

Smoothwall kick off their 2018 SAFE Roadshow in Leeds

As part of the ongoing SAFE initiative, Smoothwall continues to spread the message of the importance of online safety in schools.

Earlier this week, Smoothwall kicked off their SAFE Roadshow with a two day event in Leeds aimed at teaching pupils, teachers and parents about the importance of online safety and the ongoing risks around cyber security, online gaming and social media. In collaboration with ICT4Leeds and Leeds City Council, Smoothwall visited Shakespeare Primary School to host workshops aimed at educating their year 4, 5 and 6 pupils about the importance of staying safe online and how to use the internet responsibly.

Starting out with an all group assembly, sessions took place throughout the day with a focus on tackling topics such as stranger danger, online gaming, phone usage and in particular social media apps, including Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Musically and Roblox. These were hugely popular with the pupils, with the majority (approximately 90%) admitting to using at least one of the apps themselves, even though they are underage.

The individual sessions gave the children the opportunity to voice their concerns about their online experiences, from online gaming, to cyberbullying and even hacking. This was a common topic of conversation within each of the sessions with approximately 1/3 of all pupils mentioning they had been hacked through their games or social media accounts in the past.

Keeping children safe and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to remain safe is a hugely important part of our role. The amount of time children spend online as well as the number and type of apps and games available is increasing at a rapid rate. We believe Smoothwall's full day workshop that has been tailored to the needs of our school will support our children with staying screen-safe in an interactive and engaging way.

Following on from the online safety workshop, Smoothwall held its first SAFE Masterclass of the year at the Leeds Marriott Hotel, where a wide range of industry experts provided advice, best industry practice and information to those responsible for keeping children safe online in education. Key speakers included Online Safety Expert Claire Stead, Cyber Security Advisor from the Regional Police Cyber Crime Unit Stephanie Hunter, Head of Gooseberry Planet Stella James, and Smoothwall’s Safeguarding and Product Experts Ben Jones and Craig Fearnsides.

Cyber bullying, social media and the risks surrounding online gaming were the common topics throughout the day, with cyber security and hacking also making their way high onto the agenda. Cyber Security Advisor, Stephanie, explained the police had seen an increase in the number of hacking incidents happening amongst young people, which links to the information we received the previous day at Shakespeare Primary School from the pupils themselves.

This only solidifies the growing issue and the need to educate both young people and adults on cyber security in order to stay ahead of the game. More information on how hackers are increasingly targeting primary schools can be found here. The event was very well received, with some fantastic feedback from attendees:An excellent day comprised of reinforcing existing knowledge and learning new ideas. Speakers were obviously well skilled at what they do.

Many notes taken and lots of new things to go on and to share back with the IT team, and the Safeguarding Leads. Would definitely recommend to others.Smoothwall would like to thank the pupils and teachers at Shakespeare Primary School for their time and such a warm welcome. We would also like to thank our expert speakers and attendees for helping to make our first SAFE Masterclass of the year a huge success.

For more information about our SAFE Masterclass Roadshow or to request Smoothwall to host an online safety workshop in your school, visit our website. Did you attend our SAFE Masterclass in Leeds? Tell us what you thought by leaving your comments below.

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