eSafety Label+ multiplier event in Prague “Internet vulnerabilities in schools and how to face them”


On 15 March 2019, NCBI, the Czech partner in the eSafety Label+ project, held a national multiplier event on "Internet vulnerabilities in schools and how to face them". The event was aimed primarily at educators and other professionals in the school area, including four eSafety Label+ Champions, who have been involved in the eSafety Label + project since the beginning.

The event was divided into four blocks. The first block discussed the current development of the eSafety Label + project and the activities that will take place until the end of the project (December 2019). Particular attention was paid to the repository of eSafety Champion materials, which already contains an interesting amount of resources for teachers, mainly in the field of online safety and the fight against cyberbullying. Participants had the opportunity to review the content of each item and share their views concerning their usefulness, as well as exploring other topics which might help teachers tackle online safety issues in the classroom.

The second block focused on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was led by one of the eSafety Champions, Milan Hausner. The discussions and questions surrounding this topic demonstrated that the perception of GDPR is very fragmented from the educators’ point of view, and schools often made unnecessary steps, out of ignorance, and set limits that are not needed at all. A dedicated discussion was required to tackle the topic of taking photos in school and displaying them on websites or hosting them on the cloud. The event showed that often, schools do not know how to deal with GDPR rules, what is still right and what is beyond the regulation.

During the third part of the event, attendees had the opportunity to discover the possibilities of automated scanning of school’s websites thanks to a representative from industry. Through a simple penetration test, it is possible to detect the basic weaknesses of school sites and the associated vulnerabilities. Moreover, the use of free E-mail accounts in school correspondence is a widespread practice, which is not GDPR compliant, due to the rules and terms of use of these free E-mail services. Based on a live test using a simple reply to an E-mail, attendees were informed about the concept of digital footprint and its consequences. Participants were positively surprised by the kind and amount of information that it is possible to obtain from this simple operation.

The final part of the event looked at current developments in social networks. The discussion focused around trends and issues of the most popular social networks, used by children and young people in the Czech Republic - including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Messenger. The most common problem is the lack of protection of personal data and, above all, sharing of photos, often of an intimate nature. Their subsequent dissemination in a social network environment is a problem that has not only a very complicated but also a lengthy solution, because the impact on the personal life of victims of such leaks can be very devastating. Therefore, the need for privacy in relation to our digital footprint must be consistently highlighted to children and young people entering the social media environment. This need has been documented by examples of casual leaks of photos shared by users on social networks.

Jiri Palyza (NCBI), Marek Hencl (AARTKOM) and Milan Hausner (eSafety Label+ Champion) at the eSafety Label+ multiplier eventThe discussion held in the multiplier event made clear what are the crucial topics in the field of online safety for educators and other school professionals. The GDPR and its implementation is one of them. Educators lack knowledge in deadling with sensitive data, such as communicating exam results or managing photo permissions for children.

A separate chapter must be dedicated to the security of the school websites. Many schools face a problem of staffing, which in many cases is insufficient and results into not meeting the protection requirements against current security threats.

Finally, it is also necessary to raise awareness of the security settings of the most widely used social media applications. Teachers would welcome a simple and illustrative cookbook showing in several steps what settings are needed to ensure security (e.g. deactivation of location sharing, limitation of users, visibility of posts, etc.). This could be discussed with children in the classroom directly, while showing practical examples where and what settings need to be made to maintain at least basic security settings when using social media applications. Of course, these settings should be set up as an essential element of protection in the subsequent children’s use of online space.

‘eSafety Label+: Become the next eSafety Champion’ is an Erasmus+ project aiming to mobilise and foster the exchange of knowledge and best practices among a wide community of European teachers and other school actors to better equip schools for a safe and responsible digital future. As part of the project, the eSafety Champions are developing a wide range of resources (fact sheets, guidelines and best practice scenarios) on online safety for teachers. You can find them here. If you want to know more about the project activities and when new resources will be launched, keep an eye on the hashtag #eSafetyLabel or the eSafety Label Facebook page.

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