Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Being safe, responsible and ethical

During our recent Web Safety Seminar Dean Stewart from Web Safety NZ Ltd talked about three major areas of concern with the internet:

  1. Content - the sorts of information our young people can access has changed dramatically and it is much more readily available. Due to technology changing so rapidly, the variety and types of content available has increased dramatically. At school we use lots of different types of content to engage children in their learning, from blogs, to photos and video. This is just a start in this exciting area at Burnham School.
  2. Contact - this idea relates to who children have contact with, or who is able to make contact with our children. At school we don't allow children to make contact with anyone on the internet (ie. other schools, parents, organisations) without direct teacher supervision. We teach children to be very careful about what personal information they share. We suggest you encourage children to only ever allow themselves to be 'friends' with people they already know in person. Dean suggests that if your child has a Facebook account, then YOU should also have a Facebook account as their parent AND be connected to them as a friend. Children are only allowed to have a Facebook account when they are 13 years of age.
  3. Conduct - the range of activities that we can take part in online has grown significantly. People can chat, email, IM, brainstorm, video, audio conference, just to name a few! Mobile devices will change the way that people interact with the internet and the number of ways to interact is increasing all the time. At school we encourage children to be ethical and responsible in their communication. This means that children need to be taught that how they interact when online is equally important to how they interact when they are face to face with other people. 
Further to the point about conduct, it is important we model that being ethical means never using digital means to deal with problems - ie. we model speaking to the person concerned first. We believe this is really important and that all problems are best solved by talking to the right person, in the right forum. Our procedures for dealing with issues reinforce this concept.

For further reading about what we do at school check our Web Safety Tips page above.


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