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Personal Information – How safe is yours?

Personal Information – How safe is yours?

At Gooseberry Planet, we deal with hundreds of schools every day.

What I am noticing more and more is the number of teachers’ email addresses that are getting hacked.  I must receive 10 emails a day from teachers which contain an attachment with a Purchase Order? or payment information and a link to follow.  I know that these have been generated by an account that has been hacked.

Are we really taking enough care to protect our passwords and our personal information?  Once a person has access to our email accounts, they have the freedom to access ANY of our accounts and reset passwords.  As a school you should ensure that all staff are aware of the risk of being hacked.   v Phishing emails are commonplace and look so innocent.  They ask you to follow a link and enter your personal information.  Pop-up ads may do the same, perhaps masquerading as a genuine company but in fact using malware to re-direct you to a different website altogether, which then misuses the information that is unwittingly divulged.   I know school networks have been put down completely due to one member of staff not being vigilant.  Staff should know never to enter personal information via a link – always go to the website directly, check that it uses securely encrypted messaging (shown by “https” in the web address) before sending personal details.

I am also noticing how many staff use their personal email for work and work email for personal bits.  This should really be discouraged.  Some teachers also use their school email to access private apps on school networks.  These Apps, if not from reputable sources, can also pose a security risk to your network.   This is a particular concern to schools in light of their responsibilities for data protection.

The first line of defence for any organisation is passwords.

Staff should know how to set a strong password (you would be amazed how many people use “123456” or “password”).      I do love our password system in the Gooseberry Play.  We are already teaching children as young as 5 to generate passwords that have 3 words in.  You might think, how on earth do you teach a 5-year-old to do this?    Well, we use pictures.  For example, bluedog5, is a picture of the colour blue, a picture of a dog and the number 5.  Teachers love this and so do the students but best of all, it is the beginning of the educational process about how to stay safe online.

The irony is that we are teaching our children how to protect their data when many staff seem not to know themselves.  I know that 71% of teachers use Facebook and this platform (and others) there are often quizzes.  People seem unable to resist answering questions that are often quite simplistic and offer very little informed feedback to the user.  Be wary of these.   They may ask questions about your children’s names, your star sign, your pet’s name, your favourite colour.  They are collecting personal information which can be useful to criminals trying to guess passwords in order to hack accounts.  Resist the urge to complete online quizzes!

This month’s alert is about Personal Information and advice on how to protect it.  As usual, we offer this advice to Students, Parents and Teachers, all with conversation starters.

Interesting facts for social media & personal information

BBC article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47016671

More than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cyber-crime, police statistics show.

More than a third of victims in that period fell prey to the hacking of social media and email accounts.

Action Fraud said £34.6m was reported to be stolen from victims between April and September 2018, a 24% increase on the previous six months.

The City of London Police, which runs Action Fraud, has warned people to keep separate passwords for online accounts.

The figures show 13,357 people in the UK reported cyber crimes over six months.

More than 5,000 of those people were hacked via their social media and email accounts, costing victims £14.8m.

 

 

What can I do if I’m being bullied online?

What can I do if I’m being bullied online? Written by The Diana Award

Bullying doesn’t just have an impact within the confines of the school gates. It can take place on social media, on the school bus, on online games, in youth clubs – and its impact can stretch long into adulthood.

A survey of 2,000 British adults conducted by The Diana Award in 2018 found that:

  • 55% said they have experienced bullying while at school.
  • 69% who have experienced bullying at school said their confidence has been affected as a result of this experience.
  • 81% agreed with the statement “bullying is commonplace online”.

The fact that bullying still has a significant impact on confidence in adulthood goes to show what a devastating experience it can be for young people. Bullying can make young people feel upset, uncomfortable, and unsafe. It is an experience that is far too common: it’s estimated that at any one time, there are 16,000 young people absent from school because of bullying.

At The Diana Award, we believe that nobody should experience bullying and we all have a role to play in standing up to it.

Top tips for dealing with the issue

Cyberbullying can make you feel very alone and unable to manage the situation but as with any type of bullying it is so important it is dealt with straight away.

Advice if you’re being bullied online

1. Tell someone. As with any type of bullying it so important that you don’t suffer in silence and you tell someone about it straight away. It may seem hard do but make sure you tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher, and they will help you to decide what to do.

2. Block the person/group. Most social media sites will give you the option to block and report the person/group cyberbullying you. When you block someone it usually means that the person/group will no longer be able to contact you or see any of your content. Check out the links below to read about how you can block the person/group on different social media sites.

3. Report the person/group. Cyberbullying is never acceptable and you should report the content (pictures, text, group etc.) to someone you trust and to the social media site. If you have blocked the person but it is still continuing, all social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, ask.fm etc have report abuse buttons, as do most mobile phone networks who have teams to deal with abuse. Games consoles also have advice on their websites. Reporting is usually anonymous so the person will not know that you have reported the content. Check out the links below to read about how you can report the person/group on different social media sites.

4. Save the evidence. It is really important that you save or copy any of the cyberbullying such as texts or conversations you receive so you have evidence of the cyberbullying and can show it to the relevant people. A good way to do this is to press the ‘PrtScrn’ button on the right hand side of the keyboard which prints the screen and you then copy and paste this into a word document or try using Window’s ‘snipping tool’.

5. Don’t reply or answer back. It may be very tempting to reply to the person or group but don’t become a cyberbully yourself, deal with the bully by blocking and reporting the abuse. It is sometimes hard not to write back, but it is always best not to retaliate, but to block and monitor the situation. Sometimes the people bullying you are looking to get a reaction out of you and answering back can just make it worse.

6. Stay positive. Although it may feel like you do not have control of the situation, you can. Make sure you do the steps above and talk to people inside and outside of school that you can trust. These people care for you and will work with you to stop the cyberbullying. Stay positive, you are not alone and things will get better : )

Things that every single person who uses the internet should do…

1. Treat your password like your toothbrush! At some point we have all told someone else our password for some reason and many of us, (although we shouldn’t), have the same passwords for different log-ins. You should treat your password like your toothbrush and not share it with anyone but yourself! The best passwords contain numbers and capital letters. This will mean people can’t access your account and steal any information, pictures or personal data or pretend to be you. Change your password regularly and don’t have the same one for every account. This site tells you how long it would take for someone to crack your password: https://howsecureismypassword.net/

2. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. You should always think twice about what you post online and who you share it with. Remember potential employers and teachers may be able to find what you post so don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want yourGrandma to see!

3. Choose who you share your information with. Remember when you accept someone as your friend on instant messaging or social networks, they can access information and pictures you have posted so make sure you are happy for them to see this and you know and trust them. You wouldn’t tell a random person in the street where you live and where you’ve been on holiday so act the same online. Check out the privacy settings which will allow you to choose the information you share with people, for example you can set your profile or data to private or only allow certain people to contact you and view particular information. Don’t ever share where you live, your telephone number or email address with friends online.

4. Google your name. Even if you don’t admit it we’ve all done this once!! Typing your social media usernames and your full name into Google is a really good way to check your privacy settings and check that people like potential future employers, college or university admissions tutors can’t view any of the content you’ve posted on social media.

find out more about The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign visit www.antibullyingpro.com.

For further support on cyberbullying, visit:

Sadly, terrorism is rarely out of the news.

The horrific attack in Christchurch is a stark and tragic reminder of the worldwide threat of terrorism and the increasing danger of extreme right wing violence.  I attended a vigil outside Leicester’s largest mosque, Masjid Umar, in the wake of the atrocity and whilst the solidarity and sympathy expressed by people from all faiths and backgrounds was humbling, it was clear that even though Christchurch is on the other side of the world, the horror and sense of loss has been keenly felt by local communities here in the UK.

Sadly, terrorism is rarely out of the news.  The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) assesses that the current threat in the UK is “severe,” meaning that a terrorist attack is “highly likely.”  Numerous terrorist plots have been thwarted in recent years.   And whilst around 80% of the 700 live terrorist investigations taking place right now relate to Islamist-inspired violence, other forms of extremism are growing, as evidenced by a 36% spike in radical right-related referrals to Prevent, the safeguarding duty that protects vulnerable individuals from radicalisation.

Against this backdrop it is incumbent upon us to do what we can to safeguard our children and young people from extremism.  We may live in one of the safest countries in the world and it may seem that terrorism is a distant threat, far removed from our schools, but we cannot be complacent, and it is helpful to consider an attitude of “it can happen here.”  I say this because we needn’t look far to find chilling examples of how our youngest and most vulnerable can be at risk.

Consider the extremist who attempted to create a “child army” of terrorists by attempting to groom over one hundred children aged between 11 and 14.  Or the pharmacist sentenced to prison for showing ISIS/Daesh beheading videos to children of primary school age.  The UK’s Counter Extremism Commissioner notes that many young children are spouting far-right, racist, xenophobic points of view, often coming from their parents.

As a practitioner who has worked in Prevent since 2013, I have personally dealt with many cases of young people who were at risk of extremism and who received support and intervention that guided them to safety.  I recall a 15 year old who threatened violence and spoke openly about his racist views, stating that white people were a 100% pure master race, and that a race war was on the horizon.  I worked with a teenager who stated that he felt obliged to travel to Syria and fight because it was his religious duty.  He said that one of the killers of Fusillier Lee Rigby in Woolwich was his “brother in Islam.”

What would you do if you heard those views within your setting?

Since 2015 schools and childcare providers have had a legal duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into extremism.  But I passionately believe that we also have a moral duty to protect our children.  That is why I have helped to create a Prevent CPD with Gooseberry Planet.  Based on my practical experience and expertise we have developed an accessible programme that will empower education professionals with the confidence and knowledge to approach radicalisation and extremism in an effective and responsible way.

The education sector is the biggest source of referrals to Prevent and there is widespread acceptance that it should be understood as part of wider safeguarding responsibilities.  It is vital that we all play out part in keeping our children and communities safe.

Copyright in education

When I first thought of putting together a Copyright webinar and training material for our Gooseberry Gurus, I was under the impression that I would struggle to talk for 30 minutes.  I even contemplated adding information about Fake News to try and pad things out.  All I can say is that I had no idea how complex the copyright laws were! 

I then started to ask my son about his awareness of the legal aspects of using songs on YouTube videos.  He had no idea, and I don’t think that he is any different from most children.  It seems to me that it is important that we educate children about this, both so that they appreciate the reason these laws exist and so that they don’t fall foul of the law.    My son is a keen scooter rider and his whole group love to create videos of their days out at skate parks.  He was pleased to know that he owns the copyright in any videos that he creates and that he could potentially stop other people using them.  Understanding that the law can benefit him gives him an understanding of why the law is there to protect others, especially professional singers, film makers etc who spend significant sums creating entertainment for us, protected by the ability to reap the financial reward.  Piracy is quite a big problem for them and there are serious penalties for those who break the law. 

Most young people are either watching or creating content on service providers such as YouTube.  I suspect quite a lot of them unwittingly breach the copyright laws and get caught out by the ‘Content ID’ software which scans uploaded content against a database of files in order to identify copyright material.  If identified, the copyright owner is notified and can choose whether to Block, monetise or track the upload.  If a user is regularly breaching copyright it could affect their reputation and potentially lead to prosecution.

There is an opportunity for schools to use video production as part of lessons.  Look at our Gooseberry Alert suggestion that children research an aspect of copyright law and produce a video about it.  Why not encourage the children to identify their creations with the date and copyright symbol and upload them to YouTube or another platform. 

The next issue is, do you and your staff know the laws?  (On the 25th March we have a webinar covering this area and if you are a Gooseberry Guru you get the link to share with your school community.)    Learn about the “fair use” exceptions for private study, research, reporting current events and creating parody.  Learn about the special provisions for educational establishments and how to get permission to use copyright materials.

Copyright is not specifically mentioned in the Computing Curriculum, or in PSHE, but it does come under the UKCISS Framework.  I feel that if a child could potentially get a fine or criminal record for doing something that many young people do, surely, we should be educating them about it.  It also ties neatly into a discussion about plagiarism in school work – perhaps not such a big issue in primary school but a real issue in secondary and at university.    

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Social Media Dangers

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Social Media Dangers

Social media was designed to be a positive tool to bring people together from all over the world. It has changed the way we communicate with each other and provided us with channels to share our lives with friends and family. At its very heart, social media was created with good intentions.

The Dark Side of Social Media

Sadly, social media channels can also broadcast upsetting and dangerous content, and enable people to exploit children, young people and vulnerable adults. Issues such as child grooming, sexual exploitation, bullying and propaganda driven extremism pre-exist social media, and sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do not promote abuse and exploitation themselves. They do, however, provide a platform where victims and their information are easily accessible, facilitating those who wish to cause them harm. It feels like every day another story hits the headlines, warning us of the dangers of a specific platform.

Instagram’s Link To Teenage Girl’s Suicide

Very recently, we heard the tragic news that 14-year-old Molly Russell’s death by suicide was linked to her exposure to harmful and graphic images of self-harm and suicide on Instagram. Like many other sites, Instagram uses algorithms to suggest content based on things you regularly search for. These algorithms can be harmless (and even helpful) if you are searching for innocent things such as fashion or sports, but if a person who is vulnerable types in a search phrase such as “depressed”, “suicidal” or “self-harm” this algorithm can aid them in finding even more harmful content. It is easy to see how this could spiral out of control and even become addictive.[1]

“Suicide isn’t a hashtag. It’s an unimaginable, devastating tragedy.” – Ged Flynn, Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide)

Momo Challenge – The Danger of Fake News

Recently, the ‘Momo Challenge’ went viral. It was suggested that this terrifying ‘Momo’ was encouraging children and young people to harm themselves and others through suicide or other violent acts. Some reports even suggested that this challenge was being broadcasted through Fortnight, Peppa Pig and other videos aimed at young children on YouTube.[2] It didn’t take long for this to turn into widespread panic.

After looking into the matter and finding absolutely no evidence to support the idea, this turned out to be nothing more than a hoax. The only harm that this challenge will bring will be caused by the hysteria of the media, which could draw children, young people and vulnerable adults to think of suicide and self-harm. While the story spread due to legitimate concern, this has now exacerbated the issue[3].

Video and Livestreaming Apps Like TikTok Put Children at Risk

The risk for children being targeted, groomed and exploited on livestreaming sites isn’t new. In a survey by the NSPCC, it was discovered that 25% of children have livestreamed with a stranger. It also found that 1 in 20 children had been asked to take off their clothes in a livestream, or in the comments of a posted video.[4]

The most recent app to hit headlines for this is TikTok, a livestreaming site which is becoming increasingly popular amongst children and young people. TikTok is reported to be putting children as young as 8 years old at risk of sexual exploitation, with abusers using the comments section of videos to encourage children into sexual activity online.[5]

Social Media Platforms Must Do More

Most, if not all platforms have some kind of system or mechanism which allows them to tick a box saying they are putting in steps to protect their users. For example, by using age restrictions, putting warnings on graphic content and filtering for worrying search terms. These are easy for users to work around and any warnings raised can be ignored at the click of a button.

It is clear that social media networks need to do more to promote the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults. The government has indicated that it will make social media firms sign and adhere to a legally binding code of conduct, which will enforce their duty of care towards all users, especially children.[6] This is a step in the right direction.

Useful Guidance:

In the meantime, schools, colleges and parents are left with the challenge of preparing children and young people for a life online. A challenge that they do not need to face alone. There are a huge number of organisations on hand to offer advice, guidance and free resources to safeguard children and young people online. Gooseberry Planet, for example, is an excellent resource to be used by schools due to it’s fun and engaging ‘game-based’ learning techniques and expert support. Some other organisations which offer support include:

  • UK Safer Internet Centre

UK Safer Internet Centre has an advice centre, hotline for reporting and removing sexual images of children online and a helpline offering support via phone or email. They are also the organisers of Safer Internet Day which is celebrated annually and offers some fantastic free resources to support schools and children.

  • NSPCC

The NSPCC has some really useful resources to keep children safe online. They have easy to follow guides which walk parents through things like setting up controls on devices and accounts, as well as how to start conversations about online safety. The NSPCC also works with Net Aware to provide up-to-date news and information for parents and schools on the apps and networks most popular with children.

  • Internet Matters

Internet Matters provides advice to schools and parents. Their ‘Digital Resilience Toolkit’ offers different guidance based on the age group of a child and covers the essential things that today’s children and young people need to learn. They have a series of step-by-step guides on all of the most popular apps used by children, showing parents how they set these accounts up to best protect their children from harm. They also share well-informed articles covering the latest online issues affecting children.

We are also delighted to be holding a guest webinar for Gooseberry Planet: “When the Virtual is the Reality – a holistic approach to digital and ‘real world’ safeguarding.” In this session, we will discuss current online risks such as grooming, online bullying, county lines and more. We will cover ways in which schools can enable early intervention to prevent risk from harm and also explore what happens when virtual and real-life boundaries become blurred. During this session we will explain how digital recording and case management can help you manage the increasing wellbeing concerns facing today’s young people. You can register for this free safeguarding webinar here.

Written By Mike Glanville


[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47114313

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/momo-challenge-youtube-fortnite-peppa-pig-video-parents-a8799776.html

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/28/viral-momo-challenge-is-a-malicious-hoax-say-charities?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

[4] https://www.cnet.com/news/tiktok-live-streaming-apps-are-hunting-ground-for-abusers-warn-childrens-advocates/

[5] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/02/11/eight-year-olds-risk-sexual-exploitation-apps-like-tik-tok-charity/

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/05/tuesday-briefing-social-media-behaves-as-if-it-is-above-the-law