Colleagues in Kirklees have informed us that schools are discovering gossip blogs which have been set up by pupils using WordPress, a free blogging tool which allows a website to be created very easily. The blogs contain content which may be of concern for safeguarding reasons, including alleged sexual activity between pupils. Some colleagues may recall a similar activity that took place across the region about 3 years ago using Facebook and known at the time as ‘Dirty Secrets Sites’. We would recommended that schools carry out internet searches to ensure that there is no current gossip website about your school or local community. The formula of the website addresses is:
If your school has any nicknames, try searching for them as well as town or village names in the local area, again similar to the previous activity. If you discover a gossip blog exists, we suggest you take the following steps
1. Check for any safeguarding issues around named pupils or illegal content and take any necessary action. In the previous incident, staff were also named and if this is the case it will require careful handling. Follow your schools safeguarding procedures for incidents involving staff and importantly reassure the member of staff concerned that the issue is being dealt with.
2. Gather any available evidence (screen shots, etc) for any further investigations and follow up actions and store in an appropriate, secure location.
3. Contact the SWGfL Professionals eSafety Helpdesk; they will support you with removing the blog and are keeping a record of the extent of the problem.
4. Inform the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as they need to investigate and record the incident.
5. Record the incident in the school eSafety log.
6. Plan and deliver education sessions for pupils to prevent future occurrences.