Crown Company Network for Learning (N4L), which stops an average of 1.8 million unsafe websites and 2.5 million cyber threats reaching school internet users every day, is proud to be supporting the government’s Keep It Real Online campaign, providing helpful tips and tools to keep our tamariki safe online.
The cross-agency educational effort kicked off in June, led by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), with support from Netsafe, the Ministry of Education, the Office of Film and Literature Classification, NZ Police and N4L.
Across New Zealand’s 2450-plus schools, N4L’s filtering tools block websites featuring adult content, explicit violence, extremism, drug use and also blocks viruses, scams, malware, as well as anonymiser services that can be used to defeat filters. Schools can further customise the filtering to block other sites they deem inappropriate for learning such as games and social media.
In April, N4L introduced a free ‘Switch on Safety’ filter for parents to apply to their child’s devices when learning from home. The new filter is featured on the Keep It Real Online website and is being used by 25,000 households.
An extension of one of the filters used at school, Switch on Safety, was designed to provide a valuable layer of protection for children learning at home and has blocked more than 3 million unsafe websites and 515,000 cyber threats from reaching young eyes.
Switch on Safety user numbers are continuing to rise as schools and parents look for solutions that protect children beyond the school gate. Bream Bay College Principal Wayne Buckland says: “We see the safety filter being really helpful for our students and parents, relieving some of the anxiety from our parent community who are concerned about the safety of their children online at a time when there are all sorts of scams and phishing going on.”
“The Keep It Real Online campaign empowers parents and caregivers to reduce the risks of online harm, and encourages them to have conversations with their children about healthy online behaviours,” says Trina Lowry, Manager Design, Engagement, and Innovation for Digital Safety at the Department of Internal Affairs. “It is important to educate children and help them develop online safety skills so they can minimise the risks of being the targets of crime and exploitation, and navigate the internet in a safe, happy and healthy way.”
N4L CEO Larrie Moore says the campaign is doing a brilliant job of shining the light on important online safety issues that require ongoing vigilance and education.
“It takes a village to keep our tamariki safe online and we are proud to be a part of the community that is protecting our young internet users,” says CEO Larrie Moore. “Our filtering technologies are robust. We partner with global cyber security companies like Fortinet and Akamai to keep the internet safe and secure, but technology is not a silver bullet and must be combined with responsible digital behaviours. And the Keep it Real Online Campaign is doing a fantastic job of prompting families to have conversations with their children about keeping safe online.”
The first two weeks of the campaign have seen thousands of comments across social media and has been picked up by overseas news outlets, generating millions of views of its educational videos throughout New Zealand and around the globe.
The 2450+ schools across New Zealand use N4L’s Managed Network internet services to provide safe and secure connectivity to students and teachers, protecting them against cyber threats and blocking harmful and unsafe websites.
For more information, please contact:
Julie Landry, Principal Communications Advisor, Network for Learning, +64 21 895 098
About The Network for Learning (N4L)
N4L is a Crown company supporting the government’s goals for education through its ‘Managed Network’, which connects all New Zealand schools including kura to safer and reliable internet services which are fully funded and supported for schools. The company was named New Zealand’s 2018 Broadband Provider of the Year and works alongside education, government, and technology partners to help schools get the most from safe and secure digital connectivity.
About N4L safety and security
Schools can use N4L filtering to block access to social media and other sites they want students to avoid. In tandem, N4L applies a universal level of filtering to block 14 categories of harmful web content, such as websites depicting explicit violence, substance abuse, extremist groups, illicit hacking activities, and ‘anonymiser’ sites with tools used to bypass filtering. The company also mitigates the impact of cyber threats, such as phishing scams, ransomware, and DDoS attacks; and stops unauthorised attempts to access school data.
In April 2020, the company launched a Switch on Safety filter to help protect students learning on their devices from home. The list of categories blocked by this filter can be found at: switchonsafety.co.nz