7 Effective Ways to Promote Online Safety and Digital Wellbeing in Schools

Andy Tallett

Digital Technology Lead, Kowloon Bay Campus, Kellett School Hong Kong

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Technology and social media have become part of the fabric of daily life. Whilst they provide fantastic opportunities for education, creativity and connection, it is a challenge for young people to avoid over-engaging with them and their overuse can pose risks to wellbeing if not managed properly. This is particularly true for younger users who are still developing critical thinking skills and independence.

As educators, we have an important responsibility to help students manage their digital wellbeing and nurture healthy habits that will benefit them now and into the future. At Kellett School HK, we take a holistic, proactive approach to strengthen digital literacy and promote online safety across our community through a combination of discrete lessons, agreements and policies, device management, professional development and parental partnerships.

Digital Citizenship

In the classroom, teachers deliver lessons on digital citizenship using ready-made lessons from Project Evolve and Common Sense Media. These resources help students learn crucial skills like privacy protection, how to critically assess online sources, to think about what personal information they share and how to manage their digital tattoo. This scheme is complemented by assemblies around events such as Safer Internet Day.

A Coordinated Approach

We have developed a unified approach between our 3 campuses involving each school’s digital leader who meet regularly with SLT and members of the technical support team. Even though this requires a large time-investment, having key stakeholders making decisions collectively is important. We have consistency between the schools whenever it is appropriate, but recognise the nuances that each school faces and tailor the approach accordingly.

Engaging Parents and the Wider Community

We provide regular parental workshops, such as how to navigate screen-time rules at home or raise awareness of the risks around unrestricted YouTube access.

Our membership of the National College enables staff to complete certification in areas such Online Safety and Cybersecuity, which can be tracked by SMT. There are bespoke versions of these courses for parents, school leaders and Governors which has helped to engage the wider community. National Online Safety has been incorporated into the platform and their resources enable us to keep abreast of emerging concerns.

Managing Devices

For context, we have 1:1 iPads (school-owned and managed) in Years 1-7 and rollout will continue through the Senior School each year. By prioritising investment in hardware, we can better protect students through in-depth management using our MDM system, Mosyle.

Tools like Mosyle, Jamf and Apple School Manager streamline device administration but can offer additional benefits including web filtering, restrictions on apps and settings, as well as simplified setup of Apple Classroom.

Apple Classroom supports teachers with device management in the classroom by helping to manage app use and share content easily. It also enables monitoring of device usage to ensure online safety guidelines are being followed. For example, teachers can see when students are accessing restricted sites or apps during lessons and address any issues promptly. Apple Classroom is an invaluable tool for reinforcing the concepts taught in digital literacy classes.

Network Access

We maintain strict content filtering of our network through Mosyle and our ISP, restricting access to inappropriate content. YouTube is a key example as it can expose students to inappropriate adverts and content through autoplay, distract them from learning or even offer biased opinions or misinformation.

At the senior school level, we currently have a BYOD program which undoubtedly makes monitoring and device management more challenging. Network traffic is monitored using Impero, which flags inappropriate searches and communications by recognising keywords that are predefined. It has been a complex technical project to make this work with BYOD.

Considering Younger Students’ Access to Tech

Of course, as technologies evolve so too do the challenges they may present. A recent concern has been the permeation of smartwatches, even amongst our youngest students, with cameras, recording capabilities and communication.

Our acceptable use agreements are updated annually to take account of recent developments and this is used alongside our behaviour management guidelines to ensure students keep themselves and others safe.

Support beyond the classroom

Outside of lessons, our pastoral and counselling team is available to discuss any issues students face regarding social media, online relationships or matters related to their digital lives.

While digital challenges will always evolve alongside advancing technologies, our emphasis is on equipping children for the future rather than simply reacting to today’s specific issues. That is why our approach focuses on empowering students with lifelong skills in addition to dealing with topical concerns. We recognise new topics like the influences of AI, online gaming habits, misogyny, risks of sexting or developing unhealthy social comparisons must be addressed proactively.

In summary, digital wellbeing deserves equal attention alongside physical and emotional health in supporting students’ healthy development. Through our collegiate, coordinated approach to online safety and digital wellbeing, we are better preparing our school community to thrive in the digital world. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, we must continue working closely together to understand new risks and refine our approaches to ensure every student leaves school prepared for whatever the digital future may bring.


Written by Andy Tallett, Digital Technology Lead, Kowloon Bay Campus, Kellett School Hong Kong 


6 February 2024