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Family Zone School Blog


Managing student wellbeing online

The new system has given me a lot of great data to work with. That means kids at risk get flagged in a visual way so I can follow that up with our wellbeing team. For us, that’s a big positive. And it’s one of the main reasons we wanted the product in the first place, for our at-risk students.

Tony Hoye, Technology Leader, Marist College Bendigo



It’s been said that information explosions blow things up. The definition of schools’ “duty of care” is definitely one of those things, with student safety online presenting a multitude of new challenges for admins and pastoral care staff.

Family Zone School Manager’s detailed, easy-to-access reporting on student internet usage is helping schools all around the world to meet those challenges.

With astonishing detail and accuracy, School Manager shows exactly who is doing what online - and where and when they’re doing it. And that means at-risk students can be identified quickly and accurately, and early interventions initiated.

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Not so very long ago, “duty of care” was all about protecting students from risky situations in the physical world. Today, schools face the additional burden of keeping them safe from risky virtual situations accessed online.

By their very nature, however, online threats are hidden threats. They unfold on screens small enough to fit in a backpack or  a back pocket. They can be switched off with a click or a swipe - and switched on again just as effortlessly.

Now that BYOD programs have become the default mode in Australian classrooms, there’s been an explosion in the sheer numbers of devices schools now need to wrangle. Traditional school firewalls, with basic filtering functionality and rudimentary reporting, simply can’t keep up - especially given the rampant use of VPNs to bypass school filtering.


Our issues were essentially visibility. The firewall we had just wasn’t really up to scratch. It had a lot of holes, and there was a lot of activity getting through. So we looked at various products and chose Family Zone."

Tony Hoye

Marist College Bendigo


School Manager’s leading edge technology plugs those holes - while its revolutionary reporting interface shines a light on the darkest corners of students’ online activity, right down to which sites they are accessing at any given moment of any given day.

The Cyber Safety tab of School Manager is where admins can find an overview by Year Level, Room or Individual student that shows actual usage by content category - and then compares it to expected or benchmark activity.

At each level, users can drill down to view website traffic, downloads, devices on the school network - even which specific YouTube videos have been accessed and which keyword terms have been entered for online searches.

I’ve had kids searching for suicide methods and means to harm themselves. Then there’s access to gaming sites like Fortnite, and the amount of time they’re spending on those sites. And then there’s adult content."

Tony Hoye

Marist College Bendigo


Separate adult content reports are also readily accessible on School Manager, and can display data on entire years, classes or individuals. VPN reports show exactly which “virtual private networks” students have attempted to access to bypass filtering, and how many of those attempts have been blocked.

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The “Red Flags” feature provides an at-a-glance summary of risky usage, while “Blocked Reports” detail attempts to access all blocked pages.

School Manager reports can be customised and alerts set for weekly, daily or as-it-happens usage reports.

I’ve worked with other systems before, and you have to write your reports and keep on top of those. And then the number of false positives you get can be quite significant. With Family Zone, you get 99% accurate reporting."

Tony Hoye

Marist College Bendigo

 

What it all adds up to is best-in-class visibility and reporting - the data every school needs to meet its digital duty of care in an online world.


If you’re an existing Family Zone customer and would like to upgrade to School Manager, or learn more, simply contact School Relationship Manager Nathan Schramm at nathans@familyzone.com.

Topics: Cyber Experts, Mobile Apps, Cyber Safety, online pornography, depression, suicide

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