Thursday, 12 July 2018

Child safety on Fortnite: parent factsheet

Fortnite is an online video game where players compete to be the last person standing in a post-apocalyptic world. The most popular version is Fortnite: Battle Royale, which sees up to 100 players pitted against each other to stay alive on an island. Players can build and demolish structures, and collect weapons, supplies and armour to help them along the way.
Players shoot each other using a range of lethal weapons, but the brightly-coloured, cartoon-style graphics and lack of bloodshed mean it doesn’t feel too gory or graphic.
To play, the age recommendation is 12 and above due to ‘mild violence’, although you don’t have to provide your age when creating an account, so younger children can still log on easily.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is free to download on PC/Mac, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and iOS devices (Apple phones and tablets). It’s coming to Android soon.
It has about 45 million monthly users worldwide including the England football team, who reportedly played it in their World Cup downtime.
What are the concerns?
You may have seen news reports or heard concerns raised about the:
·       Communication between players: a chat function allows players to talk to each other either over a headset and microphone, or using messaging. Children could use it to speak to strangers, or it could put them at risk of cyberbullying
·       In-app purchases: players can build up large bills on their parents’ accounts by buying cosmetic items like outfits for your character and better-looking weapons (otherwise known as ‘skins’)
·       Addictive nature of the game: anecdotal stories tell of children staying up all night to play, or falling asleep in lessons after playing for too long. Some commentators attribute this to the communal feel of the game – you can play with your friends – and the game is different every time you play, keeping it fresh
What safety options are available to parents?

Use the parental controls on the gaming device

Most devices allow you to set time limits on game play, set age limits for content, and restrict in-app purchases.

Visit the website ‘ask about games’ for links to detailed instructions on the device your child uses – the site covers Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Apple and Android phones, and Nintendo Switch.

The battles in Fortnite last around 20 minutes. When trying to limit your child’s screen time, make the most of this natural stopping point. Set a limit in terms of matches rather than hours and minutes, or set time limits in 20 minute increments.

Turn off the voice chat feature

Speak to your child to make sure they know this feature exists, and encourage them to use the options below if they encounter someone who is offensive or inappropriate.

You can disable the voice chat function in the game if you:

·         Open the settings menu (the 3 lines on the right-hand-side of the screen), then choose the ‘cog’ icon
·         Select the ‘audio’ tab
·         You should be able to turn off ‘voice chat’ by tapping the arrows next to it

You can also ‘mute’ individual players in the game by:
·         Pausing the game
·         Hovering over the player you wish to mute
·         Selecting the mute button (a loudspeaker icon)

Make sure your child knows how to report inappropriate behaviour

You or your child can report players who make them uncomfortable using the in-game feedback tool (located in the main menu).

You can also use the ‘support’ section of the Epic Games site (the makers of Fortnite). You’re asked to select the platform you play the game on, the game mode you’re playing, and then you can select ‘report player’. You can provide more detail such as the player’s name, and attach a screenshot.

Support, Epic Games

What else can I do?

Further tips

·         Download and play the game to help you understand it
·         Talk to your child about what they’re doing online, and make sure they know they can talk to you about anything that has upset them
·         Check your bank statements and gaming system account balance regularly to look for in-app purchases you’re not happy with, and to make sure your child isn’t getting around any passwords you’ve set up

More sources of support

·         Non-profit organisation Internet Matters has put together 5 top tips to manage children’s screen time.

·         The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has a range of resources for parents on internet safety.

·         The NSPCC has also teamed up with O2 to offer advice to parents. You can call their free helpline on 0808 800 5002, or make an appointment with an O2 Guru in an O2 store.

Sources for this factsheet

Fortnite, Epic Games

Fortnite: all you need to know, Net aware, from the NSPCC and O2

Monday, 11 June 2018

12 Essential Habits of Exceptional Leaders

08/05/2017 03:34 pm ET Updated Aug 30, 2017

One of the most popular Dilbert comic strips in the cartoon’s history begins with Dilbert’s boss relaying senior leadership’s explanation for the company’s low profits. In response to his boss, Dilbert asks incredulously, “So they’re saying that profits went up because of great leadership and down because of a weak economy?” To which Dilbert’s boss replies, “These meetings will go faster if you stop putting things in context.”
Great leadership is indeed a difficult thing to pin down and understand. You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time explaining the specifics of what they do that makes their leadership so effective. Great leadership is dynamic; it melds a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole.
Below are 12 essential behaviors that exceptional leaders rely on every day. Give them a try and you can become a better leader today.
1. Courage
“Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.” —Aristotle
People will wait to see if a leader is courageous before they’re willing to follow his or her lead. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show courage themselves when their leaders do the same.
For the courageous leader adversity is a welcome test. Like a blacksmith’s molding of a red-hot iron, adversity is a trial by fire that refines leaders and sharpens their game. Adversity emboldens courageous leaders and leaves them more committed to their strategic direction.
Leaders who lack courage simply toe the company line. They follow the safest path—the path of least resistance—because they’d rather cover their backside than lead.
2. Effective Communication
“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” —Joseph Priestley
Communication is the real work of leadership. It’s a fundamental element of how leaders accomplish their goals each and every day. You simply can’t become a great leader until you are a great communicator.
Great communicators inspire people. They create a connection with their followers that is real, emotional, and personal, regardless of any physical distance between them. Great communicators forge this connection through an understanding of people and an ability to speak directly to their needs.
3. Generosity
“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” —John Maxwell
Great leaders are generous. They share credit and offer enthusiastic praise. They’re as committed to their followers’ success as they are to their own. They want to inspire all of their employees to achieve their personal best – not just because it will make the team more successful, but because they care about each person as an individual.
4. Humility
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” —C.S. Lewis
Great leaders are humble. They don’t allow their position of authority to make them feel that they are better than anyone else. As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they won’t ask their followers to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.
5. Self-Awareness
“It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.” —Latin Proverb
Contrary to what Dilbert might have us believe, leaders’ gaps in self-awareness are rarely due to deceitful, Machiavellian motives, or severe character deficits. In most cases, leaders—like everyone else—view themselves in a more favorable light than other people do.
Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence, a skill that 90% of top performing leaders possess in abundance. Great leaders’ high self-awareness means they have a clear and accurate image not just of their leadership style, but also of their own strengths and weaknesses. They know where they shine and where they’re weak, and they have effective strategies for leaning into their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses.
“The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” —Jon Wolfgang von Goethe
The Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated – assumes that all people are the same. It assumes that, if you treat your followers the way you would want a leader to treat you, they’ll be happy. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.
Great leaders don’t treat people how they themselves want to be treated. Instead, they take the Golden Rule a step further and treat each person as he or she would like to be treated. Great leaders learn what makes people tick, recognize their needs in the moment, and adapt their leadership style accordingly.
7. Passion
“If you just work on stuff that you like and are passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” —Mark Zuckerberg
Passion and enthusiasm are contagious. So are boredom and apathy. No one wants to work for a boss that’s unexcited about his or her job, or even one who’s just going through the motions. Great leaders are passionate about what they do, and they strive to share that passion with everyone around them.
8. Infectiousness
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
Great leaders know that having a clear vision isn’t enough. You have to make that vision come alive so that your followers can see it just as clearly as you do. Great leaders do that by telling stories and painting verbal pictures so that everyone can understand not just where they’re going, but what it will look and feel like when they get there. This inspires others to internalize the vision and make it their own.
9. Authenticity
“Just be who you are and speak from your guts and heart – it’s all a man has.” —Hubert Humphrey
Authenticity refers to being honest in all things – not just what you say and do, but who you are. When you’re authentic, your words and actions align with who you claim to be. Your followers shouldn’t be compelled to spend time trying to figure out if you have ulterior motives. Any time they spend doing so erodes their confidence in you and in their ability to execute.
Leaders who are authentic are transparent and forthcoming. They aren’t perfect, but they earn people’s respect by walking their talk.
10. Approachability
“Management is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away.” —Tommy Lasorda
Great leaders make it clear that they welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than their own. They know that an environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insight, and ask good questions is destined for failure. By ensuring that they are approachable, great leaders facilitate the flow of great ideas throughout the organization.
11. Accountability
“The ancient Romans had a tradition: Whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: He stood under the arch.” —Michael Armstrong
Great leaders have their followers’ backs. They don’t try to shift blame, and they don’t avoid shame when they fail. They’re never afraid to say, “The buck stops here,” and they earn people’s trust by backing them up.
12. Sense Of Purpose
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” —Ken Kesey
Whereas vision is a clear idea of where you’re going, a sense of purpose refers to an understanding of why you’re going there. People like to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Great leaders give people that feeling.
Bringing It All Together
Becoming a great leader doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate all of these traits at once. Focus on one or two at a time; each incremental improvement will make you more effective. It’s okay if you “act” some of these qualities at first. The more you practice, the more instinctive it will become, and the more you’ll internalize your new leadership style.
What other qualities would you like to see added to this list? Please share your thoughts on exceptional leadership in the comments section, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The GDPR and the laws on data protection

Melanie Hurley writes for on behalf of GDPR in Schools, a cloud-based, data protection monitoring solution for schools.
The time has almost arrived for the UK’s new data protection regulation to come into effect when the General Data Protection Regulation – the GPDR – go live on Friday 25 May.
In this blog, we’ll take a high-level look at the laws and what they mean to all of us – as data controllers or processers, schools and individuals. The new regulations represent the biggest shift in data protection laws in the UK since the Data Protection Directive came into force in 1995 and since their adoption in April 2016, plenty has been done by the education industry to prepare.
Why the GDPR?
The main aim of bringing in the GDPR at this time is to recognise the changes to everyday life that have occurred since the original rules came into being. Think back to 1995 – it was a very different time with minimal internet availability and even less mobile phone usage. Everything was done ‘offline’ and the amount of data you shared was both limited and easily controlled by you as an individual.
Since then, the way that we as individuals and organisations use data has changed beyond anyone’s imagination and as a result, the previous laws on data protection are no longer fit for purpose, so an updated approach and accompanying rules are overdue.
Modern rules for modern data

The central purpose of the GDPR is to protect people in the modern information age. This means reducing the risk of data falling into the wrong hands or being used in a different way to that which the individual originally gave their permission. Now more than ever it’s possible for data to be passed from one organisation to another so it has become essential for individuals to retain control over their personal information.
In addition, organisations will need to take on more responsibilities around the ways they collect and hold data, becoming more accountable for how the data is used and the reasons for contacting individuals.
As public-facing organisations holding significant quantities of data, schools will need to ensure their compliance with the GDPR.
Data held in schools
Driven mainly by government reporting requirements, schools currently hold extensive data on a wide number of individuals and organisations, covering a diverse spread of information.
This includes students, staff and parents, covering details such as student education data, student medical data, staff employment data, safeguarding information and contracts with suppliers.
Because of the requirements already on schools to protect their data, the majority of the above is already held in a secure way, meaning that schools are in a far better position to achieve compliance than many other organisations.
What will schools be doing?
The changes brought about by the GDPR affect everyone with personal data – so, in real terms, they affect everyone. In an education context, anyone who interacts with your school will be affected, even if they as individuals do not need to modify their current practices.
This applies to staff, parents, children and volunteers, many of which will almost certainly have data held on your SIMS database. As a result of their existing practices, schools already operate strict data protection policies, so there’s no need to panic or make sweeping changes to your existing procedures.
So long as schools already ensure that data is kept secure and used appropriately, then much will stay the same, although the arrival of the GDPR will ensure better security and greater levels of transparency.
One area for increased focus around the GDPR is consent. However in many instances consent is not used as the legal basis for processing personal data in schools.  If consent is required, data controllers must do so in a clear manner and provide a straightforward way for this to be removed whenever the data subject requests it.
The role of the school governing body
As with any change of approach or new strategy, it is key for the school’s governing body to take the lead and create a positive culture around data protection. By holding the school accountable for the data they hold and how they use it, the governing body can ensure that any existing or new procedures are in line with the new regulation.
A key new role in managing this situation is that of Data Protection Officer, a position which can be filled by a new or existing member of school staff, but must be occupied under the GDPR.
As a result, this can provide assurances to the entire school community, knowing that data is being handled with the best interests of the data subjects.

Your rights
Parents interacting with schools have a number of new rights as a result of the GDPR and it’s important for all involved to understand what this means – however, it is worth remembering that some rights are overridden by the necessity of key school functions.
Right to be informed: to know what, how, where, and for how long your data is used.
Right of access: be able to see and know what data is being held.
Right to rectification: to fix any errors in the data held.
Right to erasure: to choose to have the data erased.
Right to restrict processing: to stop data being used for certain purposes.
Right to data portability: to move a copy of the data elsewhere.
Right to object: to complain about how your data is used.
There are also rights applicable to automated decision making and profiling – for more information on these rights and how they might affect the handling of data, take a look at the website of the UK regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at

Monday, 14 May 2018

Do You Need Email Disclaimers on Your Emails?

You’ve probably seen an email disclaimer hanging out at the bottom of an email in the email signature.

But what is it for?

What sort of function does it serve?

Well, an email disclaimer usually has some sort of legal purpose to it.  If it doesn’t have a legal purpose, then it has a marketing message behind it.

However, the most common email disclaimers are probably those stating that an email may be confidential and no part of that email should be duplicated. You may also see something regarding the views expressed by others in the email not representative of the views of the company.
For marketing purposes, the email disclaimer may include something regarding the company’s particulars. This can reside by itself or be a part of a legal disclaimer within an email. It more or less depends on what the functions of your business are and whether or not you really need a disclaimer to protect anything. Some companies do not need them, but some sort of disclaimer can project some kind of professional image.

Do You Need Email Disclaimers on Your Emails?

Let’s look more closely at some of the frequently asked questions regarding disclaimers:
Are email disclaimers necessary?
This depends mainly on the policy of the company you are working for. If the C level decide that a disclaimer is necessary that’s pretty much what you’ll have to do. In general you are not required by law to add a disclaimer except for specific professions and countries (for example, in Germany a GmbH company needs to add specific details to the email including Legal Form, Registered office etc. )
Why do we need email disclaimers?
Email disclaimer serve a few purposes, for example:
  • To prevent breach of confidentiality. Information may be intended for the recipient. If that information is leaked, they could get into trouble.
  • Virus transmission is another issue. It is very easy to mistakenly send a virus in an email and this could actually get your company sued. You can have a disclaimer that says the email could possibly contain a virus and that the recipient is responsible for scanning for viruses.
  • Companies are liable for the content of the emails sent by their employees. However, companies are unable to monitor every single email that comes through. Sending a disclaimer regarding this can keep the company from being held liable for the content of some emails.
What should an email disclaimer contain?
First and foremost, your email disclaimer should adhere to your company’s policy. We recommend that it would be visible in your signature but not too prominent and definitely keep it as short as possible so there’s a chance people will actually read it.
Are email disclaimers legally binding?
We are not legal advisers so you should always take a legal professional’s advice on this matter. For the best of our knowledge, adding a disclaimer in many cases is another way of protecting yourself and placing you in a safer place. Of course, this depends on the specifics of what you are trying to accomplish, the exact words you used, the laws and regulations you are subject to etc.
Also, as mentioned above, some countries and industries are required by law to add certain types of information / disclaimers to each email
What’s the purpose of confidentiality notices in email?
Confidentiality notice is your way of suggesting / demanding that the contents should be confidential. However, normal confidentiality requires both parties to agree so the legal status of such notice is non existent. As we mentioned, we are no legal experts so please take this to your legal team for more information
How to add email disclaimer?
Well, this is the part we are experts in Do You Need Email Disclaimers on Your Emails?   The perfect place to add a disclaimer is in your email signature. As for where you can get effective email signatures to display your email signatures containing your disclaimers, you can check out WiseStamp,, and get them that way. WiseStamp enables you to create your signature in minutes, using top notch templates and designs. You can use it to add customized email signatures to your GmailOutlookiPhoneMac Mail, Hotmail, yahoo, AOL mail and more. WiseStamp has a special app that allows you to simply type in the disclaimer and place it below your signature. You can create multiple signatures so that you can choose which is appropriate for the particular email you are sending. This makes creating an attractive email signature a lot easier because there are email signature templates and many other tools that can be used.
How to write a disclaimer examples?
The disclaimer app has a few disclaimer examples you can use, but you should talk to your legal adviser to see how to best customize it to your specific needs and requirements.