A new safeguarding app will now be available to teachers as well as parents and carers in Northern Ireland.
The Safer Schools app has been offered to the Department by the iNEQE Safeguarding Group, run by Jim Gamble
Parents and carers will be able access advice on information on social media platforms popular with their children and their friends. School staff will have access to a range of resources as well as up-to-date safeguarding information.
Education Minister, Peter Weir said: “The Covid-19 crisis is impacting on every aspect of our lives. Many of our schools are open for vulnerable children and the children of critical key workers and I thank them for that.
“As our children and young people have more free time it is only natural they will spend more time online. We want to make sure that teachers, parents and carers have all the knowledge they need to keep children safe online.
“That is why I am very pleased that the iNEQE Safeguarding Group, has offered my Department use of their Safer Schools App. This has been provided as a gesture of corporate and social responsibility on their part and it is very welcome.”
The ‘Safer Schools’ app focuses on safeguarding particularly in the online world and also provides information and messaging on a full range of safeguarding and child protection issues.
Continuing the Minister said: “I want to encourage all schools – parents and carers – to use this app. Keeping our children safe and ensuring their mental health and well-being is looked after has never been more important.”
Amongst other information available, staff and teachers also have access to professional information, advice and a range of accredited courses.
Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of iNEQE Safeguarding Group said: “Whether Zooming, chatting on WhatsApp groups or playing games on HouseParty, everyone, young and old seems to be going online and to be clear I am in no doubt that if done safely that’s a good thing. Technology can play a key part in making sure that social distancing doesn’t compound the pressures many face by making them feel socially isolated.
“As the founding CEO of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, I know that balancing the opportunities and safeguarding challenges in the digital environment is never easy. That is why this Department of Education’s initiative is so important. Download the App and no matter who you are you’ll be better equipped to play your part in making our children safer.”