Internet safety for schools
The increase in technical advancement in schools has sparked a massive debate with regards to the internet.
Internet safety (Shutterstock)
At Dial a Nerd, we have partnered with a number of schools to develop their IT infrastructure and technology plans for the future, thus have seen numerous benefits with bringing technology into the school environment.

One of the benefits is the promotion of “real time” learning due to the easy access of information stored on servers and safe internet sites.

“Real time” learning encourages better memory recall and increased learning capabilities as students source their own data. This also allows pupils to easily shape personal opinions and experiment with new ideas and concepts.

The internet, however does come with certain risks and challenges, such as exposure to content that is violent or sexually explicit, sharing of personal information that can lead to compromised safety or sullying of a reputation as well as the involvement in online scams.

In order to ensure that the internet is safe for your students, three points should be followed.

1. Invest in a robust firewall - your school’s first line of defense when it comes to determining what information enters or leaves a particular environment. 
2. Establish relationships with strong technical partners who can provide you with the best advice and IT practices. 
3. Encourage internet safety and education between teachers, learners and parents. 

By investing in a firewall with user-management and a good content filter, it is possible to control all users and the data allowed on the network from a central management console. The firewall will examine the electronic data moving to and from the computer or network and compare it to the rules that it has been given. If the data matches the rules, it will be allowed, if not, it is blocked.

Due to the ever changing nature of the internet and IT security, it is essential to make use of an IT support team who can schedule checkups and run regular reports from the firewall to ensure that the content filter is up to date, as well as to monitor user security and to promote responsible browsing.

Although the firewall is an effective means of protection, it will not always be able to prevent what information is shared, via Social Media sites, for example or the susceptibility of users to scams and other malware. Adding internet safety lessons to the curriculum, making use of internet safety games and investigative role-playing, will encourage learners to become more online savvy. This will provide them with the ability to know what information is safe to share, how to create strong passwords, how to make use of internet settings, and how to avoid scams and other malicious attacks.

Educating parents is equally important – so that they can install the correct security measures in the home.

For more information on the best way to implement the most appropriate IT solution in your school, feel free to contact us at telephone: 010 007 0012, e-mail: business@dialanerd.co.za, or visit: www.dialanerd.co.za.

Dial a Nerd Business acts as an outsourced IT department for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who require rapid, reliable and professional technology support.

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