Online safety has been a passion of mine for a very long time; I love technology and the huge benefits that can be realised through global connectivity and collaboration. I’m a strong believer that online safety is an enabler, not a showstopper; it should never be a barrier to the innovative use of technology.
For many years I was the online safety lead at Lincolnshire County Council, raising initiatives across all schools, police, the voluntary sector and others with positive outcomes and a significant increase in awareness.
Working at the local authority allowed me to take a more strategic view of school needs, particularly in regards to policy, liabilities and the management of online safety as a whole. I have a deep understanding of the technology used in schools whether for curriculum or administration purposes; this includes services such as internet filtering, collaborative tools such as social networking and the use of new technology such as tablet devices and cloud computing.
I became a CEOP Ambassador many years ago, which was a great starting point, but there is so much more to online safety; the concept of digital citizenship is rightly growing in impetus. The world is changing, technology is diversifying at an extraordinary rate and the use of technology by children is growing massively. Whilst online safety is predominantly about safeguarding, the wider aspects of ‘online safety’ are really starting to come to the fore which take into account more emotional, behavioural and usage aspects of technology.
I am an associate member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and I also partner with other companies and charities who share the same ethos as me in order to spread the word that online safety is something that can be positive and empowering.
I work with hundreds of schools nationally and speak at many different conferences. I also like to get involved with projects on behalf of other companies and charities to lend a helping hand, which includes reviewing new products on the market to advise on any safety or safeguarding issues, writing whitepapers or articles on a range of different subjects, or to get involved and advise on new educational initiatives by others.