Internet Safety for schools
As the use of technology increases in schools, NetSupport’s award winning solution provides the tools to help monitor and manage its use, support teachers and protect students.
NetSupport DNA gives technicians IT Asset Management features to effectively manage IT assets across the school’s sites; provides teachers with classroom management tools to leverage the full value of technology-led learning – plus, features a built-in internet safety module to help maintain a safe learning environment and meet the latest requirements.
It’s essential that schools and districts have the tools to keep their students safe and secure while they are accessing online resources for learning. NetSupport DNA is the solution to your school’s online safety needs: providing the tools you need to identify students at risk; prevent them being exposed to inappropriate online content; enforce acceptable use policies and fulfil your internet safety duties – all in line with ISTE guidance.
It would be easy to restrict everything that could be seen as a risk, but in reality that’s impractical and would impact learning. Fortunately, NetSupport DNA is designed to promote digital citizenship and to encourage students to act responsibly online.
NetSupport DNA’s internet safety module contains a wealth of features developed with the professionals who would be using it. With so many online risks and an ever-changing language used by young people, it’s impossible for staff to be knowledgeable about everything. And with NetSupport DNA, you don’t have to be. We’ve consulted Local Authorities, The Internet Watch Foundations, leading charities and young people themselves to ensure the tools are relevant, effective and most importantly, up-to-date.
Safeguarding data can only be collected from devices on the school network – and only the school has access to this data. Additionally, a student PC at home has no means of communicating with or from school devices /the cloud, and staff do not have the ability to interact with student devices at home. It also means that external communication (e.g. to the police) is impossible. Any information regarding any incident that occurs on a school’s site is under the control and responsibility of the Headteacher.
NetSupport DNA eSafety and internet safety features
AUP supporting the ‘new normal’
To assist schools returning to a ‘new normal’, a new AUP is available to use (Health and Social Distancing), helping to promote any new guidance and safety information across the school.
Cloud-based safeguarding console
NetSupport DNA moves to the cloud with an Azure-hosted safeguarding view. Designed to help online digital safety staff access safeguarding alerts on the go, the safeguarding cloud stores data from the school's network and supports multiple languages: French, German, Spanish, English and Italian.
Key features include:
- Triggered safeguarding keywords
- New contextual intelligence-based risk alerts
- Reported concerns by a child
- Trending topics word cloud
- History of a student’s reported concerns
- Archive reported concerns
- Reassign concerns to another member of staff
- Add a concern
- View reported concerns by a child via the school’s website
The cloud is fully secure and includes a smartphone-optimised user interface to allow safeguarding staff to quickly search for a specific child and review any recent alerts or concerns.
Contextual intelligence-based Risk Index
Unique to NetSupport DNA, the new contextual intelligence-based Risk Index automatically flags high-risk events and vulnerable students, based on sophisticated contextual AI risk analysis. It assesses the context and history of a child’s activities – from the devices used, time of day, and websites visited (including previous alerts they may have triggered) – and, from this information, creates a numerical risk index. A high-risk index could result if a child has repeatedly researched a concerning topic (e.g. suicide) out of hours, in an unmonitored setting such as the library. A lower index rating could result from a student searching a lower risk keyword in a local application during school hours that may have been used for class topics.
All the monitoring and assessment of these alerts is done locally by the school (no third-party services are required) and so the data is fully secure. This allows staff to focus on high-risk alerts (where there is more likely to be a genuine risk) and allows them to apply their professional judgement.
NetSupport Browser app for iOS and Android
Adding to the breadth of platforms supported, the new Android Browser app within NetSupport DNA (v4.5 and above) now allows schools to monitor and manage Android device activity including real-time monitoring via thumbnails view, as well as including student ‘Report a Concern’, Phrase Monitoring, Internet Safety Resources, Chat and Message features.
Meanwhile, the iOS Browser app (for iOS 9.3 and above) brings together the functionality previously available separately in the NetSupport DNA Browser and NetSupport School Student apps – making app use simpler and more streamlined for users of NetSupport DNA or NetSupport School, or both! It means that any students using iOS devices can now access Internet Safety Resources and the student ‘Report a Concern’ tool, while school counselors can monitor keywords and phrases triggered from the device. If the school also uses NetSupport School, they can set Internet Metering and Restrictions on the students’ iOS devices.
Keyword and Phrase Monitoring
This feature is designed to provide a school with insight into and alerts from any activity by a student that might suggest they are engaged in activity that would place them at risk.
Using a database of pre-supplied safeguarding keywords and phrases covering a range of topics from self harm, bullying and racism through to risks of radicalisation, NetSupport DNA is your eyes and ears, monitoring the school network. Using advanced neurolinguistics to ensure accurate detection and to avoid unnecessary 'false alarms', it will capture the triggered keyword when used anywhere on the network. If a keyword is triggered which the school deems to be a false match, a 'false alarm' note can be added allowing the reviewer to explain why.
Keywords and phrases can have individual severity levels set (determined by the school) which control the outcome on matching the triggered keyword to an action: from a simple logging of the event, through to capturing a screenshot or a video recording of the user’s activity when triggered- so you know the full background to the event.
How does the screen activity recording work?
There is up to a rolling 60 second capture of screen activity which is only held in the system memory on the students PC and is not committed to file unless the keyword is triggered. Therefore there is no screen capture visible to anybody and is automatically deleted as it goes round in an encrypted form.
And only if a critical keyword is triggered, would that then be converted into a view-able file. So at no point does the system contain anything more than 60 seconds of raw screen capture.
The triggered event can also be exported to PDF format making it easier to share with school staff. In addition to the instant alerts raised for higher severity cases, an innovative word cloud highlights trending topics across the school or specific cohorts and helps you to put incidents into a broader context. By clicking on any word in the cloud, safeguarding leads or teachers can see details of which students have typed it and the application used. Appropriate staff can be alerted through email, real-time pop-ups or summary reports.
A full explanation and definition of each keyword is also given to help staff understand the potential risk to the student. Staff can also see the broader context of a student’s activity as Netsupport DNA provides the option to monitor keywords and phrases when students type text, copy text to a clipboard or when they search on the internet. Staff can also choose whether to exclude certain applications from monitoring to reduce the occurrence of false alarms. So, for example, if students are using PowerPoint or Excel, these could be omitted from monitoring – allowing staff to focus on more high-risk areas.
Within the database of pre-supplied keywords and phrases, language packs are also included as standard to support schools with students learning English as an additional language (EAL). Now teachers and school counselors will be able to extend their internet safety provision to a wider group of students, as the packs allow them to see and monitor phonetic representations of what students are typing in languages other than English. Keyword libraries are updated regularly and NetSupport DNA gives you the flexibility to add (and share) your own keywords relevant to your own school and community.
Using the Review feature, school staff can review each triggered word or phrase and see details including student name, PC and the time it was triggered, along with the Risk Index breakdown. All new triggers are highlighted as being 'new', and when staff are reviewing them, they can be marked as 'in progress' or 'complete'. Each status has a different colour code and users can filter the main view to only show certain statuses (i.e. only show new triggers). This is extremely useful in helping members of staff to keep track of which ones need reviewing or to let supporting staff know where to pick up if others are on holiday.
Staff can print, save, email or take a screengrab of the results to forward to a colleague to follow up on. By selecting History, it will show which console users have viewed the event.
The eSafety component of NetSupport DNA is fantastic and so simple to use!
Queen Elizabeth School
Ensuring children can report a concern they might have is key to an effective protect policy. NetSupport DNA includes a way for students to report their concerns in confidence to a trusted member of staff via the Report a Concern option. The module allows the school to define as many staff as they decide on the system. Students, from any DNA enabled PC can then share their problem by sending a message, screenshots or documents to their chosen staff member. The member of staff is instantly alerted when a concern is raised and can then track the concern and record any follow up actions directly from within NetSupport DNA. Senior staff and school counselors at the school can be assigned rights to view all concerns raised and will be alerted if any concern is not actioned within a predefined period of time. The key to this feature is to offer simplicity and ease of access for students with the flexibility to ensure it is effective for use by schools.
DNA’s Report a Concern settings have now been enhanced to allow schools to select which teachers are available for students to report concerns to via Profiles. This is especially useful for schools in multi-academy trusts, who can simply select the relevant profile displaying the safeguarding contacts for their own school.
Student ‘Report a concern’ via the school website
A school can now add the student ‘Report a concern’ feature to their own website, allowing students to report any concerns they have to a trusted member of staff via the internet, from any location and device – and at any time of day.
School Counselors can flag 'at risk' students on the system so they can be easily identified and tracked as an extra layer of support. A dynamic group is also provided so all vulnerable students across the school can be seen from a single view.
NetSupport DNA is a fantastic internet safety tool and is benefitting our school immensely.
Orchard and Shepherdswell Academy
When NetSupport DNA is used across schools that are linked (e.g. school districts), on an operational level, this feature allows a school to see its own data, while that of other schools is unavailable. At a higher level, the data across all of the separate sites can be seen and analyzed as a consolidated report.
NetSupport DNA also reminds students of the role they play in their own online safety and empowers them by asking them to agree to the school’s acceptable usage policy before going online. It then provides them with instant access to online support resources – covering topics such as FGM, drug addiction, grooming and bullying – all from the NetSupport DNA internet safety icon on their PC. Staff can also manage the pre-populated list and add any additional ones they feel are appropriate.
NetSupport DNA performs a vital role in our keyword monitoring and internet safety. It has a plethora of helpful tools - a real multi-talented product!
The Pingle School
Staff can now see a history of concerns for a specific student, laid out in calendar format, giving them the ability to review the pattern and detail of issues raised over time.
Concerns may sometimes need to be re-assigned to another Internet Safety User, say, if the original member of staff the concern was reported to is on holiday. In this case, the concern can be re-directed to another user, with both parties being automatically notified of the change via email.
The Internet Metering module provides a detailed summary of all internet activity on each PC by a student, including start and finish times for each URL visited and the active time spent on a page. Results can be reviewed by device or user. Naturally, the key to supporting an effective e-safety policy is providing effective controls. With NetSupport DNA, internet usage can be fully managed; lists of approved and restricted URLs (including filtering lists such as the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit) and/or sub-URLs can be applied centrally. Once applied, NetSupport DNA can allow unrestricted access to all websites, restricted access to certain websites that have been marked as approved by the school or by blocking access to specific sites marked as inappropriate.
Plus, In addition to restricting websites and applications by their specific name, Apps and Games can now be blocked or restricted by their window’s title, helping technicians to add a broader layer of security while keeping students on task. For example an application with the word ‘multi-player’ included in the title can immediately be blocked during school hours but allowed for after schools clubs, if appropriate.
In accordance with the CIPA requirements, schools must have appropriate levels of internet metering in place. To help schools implement a flexible internet access policy which meets the need of particular departments or year groups, NetSupport DNA allows Profiles to be created. These allow groups of devices or users (i.e. year group or department level), to each have its own specific component settings. This means multiple approved/restricted websites lists can be applied to specific year groups, allowing the schools to implement age-appropriate monitoring and restrictions ie those aged 15 and above can access Facebook as part of their studies.
Teacher ‘Add a concern
In addition to students being able to report their concerns from any school PC to a trusted member of staff, teachers can now do the same in situations where they are verbally told of a student’s concern. They can now log the concern via the ‘Add concern’ button on the navigation tab. This can also be used by the school counselor so they can quickly transfer and record any paper based concerns into NetSupport DNA.
Just like the students, the teacher can select which member of staff they would like to report the concern to, enabling the selected staff member to track the concern, re-assign it and record any follow-up actions directly from within NetSupport DNA.
Not only does it help to stop any incidents recorded onto pieces of paper from going missing, but it helps prevent the concern being forgotten about or not being reported/recorded in the correct manner.
When a critical safeguarding keyword is copied, typed or searched for across the school network, schools can turn on NetSupport DNA’s webcams capture feature (this feature is turned-off by default) to capture an image of the user (not a recording/video) who has triggered the keyword. Since the solution is currently only running on a LAN (Local Area Network), the feature can only apply within the school, not at home.
This feature is common across most solutions in the sector and is used where a child on a common use PC ( i.e the library), triggers words or terms that may indicate an imminent risk of suicide and where the school need to know which child they need to intervene with. Without capturing who was sat at the PC, without a unique login ID, this would be impossible.
NetSupport DNA empowers everyone to play an active part in creating a safe and secure learning environment and delivers a solution that genuinely supports staff in their efforts without adding to their workload.
internet safety with NetSupport DNA