Keeping Ambassadors Safe
Ambassador safeguarding is a top priority for us. The sad reality of any online chat platform is that it presents an opportunity for malicious actors which technology struggles to keep up with.
Thankfully, on Unibuddy it is very rare. Of the hundreds of thousands of messages that are sent, only 0.3% are marked as abusive or inappropriate. We recognize that one inappropriate message is one too many, so we have features and functions in place to effectively manage this.
1.1 Ambassador training
Every Unibuddy package includes a bespoke ambassador training webinar, which covers important Safeguarding functionality. Ambassadors tend to be ‘digital natives' and well-versed in staying safe online, but we provide this webinar to ensure they know how to stay safe on Unibuddy. We also provide this training monthly, for any ambassadors or universities who want to refresh their memory.
1.2 A powerful blocking tool
If a user does send an inappropriate message, it’s important that it is dealt with promptly, and ambassadors retain control of their conversations. That’s why we implemented a powerful blocking tool.
Ambassadors can block a prospect at any time. When they do so, the messages are removed from their inbox, and the prospect is blocked from messaging them, or any other ambassador at their institution. The university supervisor receives a report outlining the block and the block reason and can reverse it if necessary.
1.3 Code of Conduct for prospects
When prospects sign up to Unibuddy, they are directed to the Chat Rules outlining the code of conduct for interacting on Unibuddy.
We know that cultural differences or language barriers can sometimes cause miscommunication, but with a clear set of rules and expectations for everyone to follow we hope that it helps keep chats appropriate.
1.4 Template responses for ambassadors
Ambassadors should always feel in control of a conversation, and if it seems to be veering off course, or if a prospective student is asking for personal information, they should feel empowered to remind the user of the rules.
To help with this, we’ve provided template responses they can use to remind chatters that they can’t share personal information, or that they should stay on topic. These are accessible from our help desk.
1.5 Abusive language censoring
Our most recent feature censors words and phrases that are entirely abusive or inappropriate for the platform. It has been carefully curated to keep ambassadors safe, while still allowing for cohesive and casual conversation.
These features are designed with students in mind, and through extensive consultation with our partners and ambassadors. We’re always looking to improve further and know there is more to be done. We’d love to hear your ideas on our feedback portal.
1.6 Extra safeguarding features
First names only - we only display ambassadors’ first names, and they can only access the first names of prospective students.
Admin monitoring - admins are able to read all conversations to ensure personal information is not being exchanged. They can block prospects directly from a conversation.
Unibuddy monitoring - we review (anonymized) conversational data to detect trends and assess potential future safeguarding features.