18 June 2020
Keeping your virtual events safe

With the rapid rise in virtual events replacing entire calendars of Open Days, Applicant Visit Days and classes, some universities have expressed concern around the safety and security of these platforms. 

It’s not surprising – we’ve all seen the headlines about lectures getting unwanted guests, and we’ve all heard Internet horror stories. 

Being built for Higher Education, Unibuddy Live has been created from the ground up with security and safeguarding at the front of our minds. We have a whole range of tools to keep your student ambassadors and your attendees safe. 

Whatever software you are using to host virtual events, here are some ideas to support safeguarding. 

First name basis

A simple step for keeping your ambassadors safe – that you probably already use for your in-person events – is keeping everything on a first name basis. Just as ambassador name badges only show a first name and area of study, limit the personal information they share during digital events, so that prospective students can only keep in touch through platforms you manage, like Unibuddy. 

Designed with safeguarding in mind, Unibuddy protects both ambassadors and prospective students from seeing personal details such as surnames and email addresses of one another – to ensure conversations stay on the Unibuddy platform. 

Let ambassadors block 

If you’re running a virtual event, you and your fellow event organisers only have one pair of eyes. Just like at a real open day, you rely on the support of your ambassadors to help things run smoothly. 

Whatever software you are using to run your virtual event, you should give ambassadors the ability to support your moderation. That could be kicking people out of a webinar or group chat. 

With Unibuddy Live, student ambassadors and staff have a range of moderation controls – including to delete messages and block prospects from the chat. 

Control who can stream video

We’ve all seen the headlines about unauthorised access to webinar software. Thankfully, most webinar and meeting providers are now putting in solutions to ensure this cannot happen. 

But still – make sure you use all the tools at your disposal to ensure only you and your colleagues / ambassadors can stream video. Whether that’s by adding a password, or ensuring the settings are properly configured. 

With Unibuddy Live, it’s one less thing to worry about. You have full control over who can chat and who can broadcast. You decide who can livestream and you set the times that they can. There’s no secret pins or private URLs that can get out by mistake – only an approved account is able to stream video. 

Set clear expectations for everyone

Setting clear expectations about what is and isn’t suitable for your virtual event will help make sure everyone is on the same page. A few simple rules – such as keeping your chats on the platform and not sharing personal social media accounts – can help keep everyone safe. 

The Unibuddy widget has rules built in for prospective students and applicants, so they know exactly what the chat is and what it isn’t. It prevents misunderstandings and makes sure everyone has enjoyable chats. 

Unibuddy tools

Keeping everyone safe online can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But we’ve done our best to make sure you and your students have all the tools at your disposal to help make sure your online engagement and virtual events are safe and successful. 

Those tools include: 

  • First names only: students can only ever see each others’ first names
  • Intelligent censorship: long ‘censored words’ lists don’t solve the problem of safeguarding. That’s why we developed an intelligent censorship system that stars out abusive words and phrases. 
  • Email verification: Ensure all your sign-ups use their real email addresses with quick and easy email verification – which you can switch on and off. 
  • Powerful blocking: Ambassadors, staff and university moderators can all block any user, from anywhere on the platform. Blocks are instant, and prevent a user from messaging any other ambassador.
  • Clear rules: All prospective students have clear guidelines within the app – so they know what Unibuddy is, and what it isn’t.
  • Training for ambassadors: Unibuddy provides training for all ambassadors to help them stay safe when they’re representing their university online.

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