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Schools’ Internet Safety Policy

Schools’ Internet Safety Policy Helps Keep Our Children Safe

Learning about Internet safety at school is a key way to keeping children and parents informed of the dangers.

That’s the word from the ICT Leader at one Christchurch primary school.

Selwyn House School’s Simon Mutch, says the students, their parents and teachers are actively involved in the school’s Internet Safety Policy.

“The Internet is a powerful educational tool but it also comes with a huge amount of responsibility. We as educators and adults must support and inform our students as their safety is of paramount importance,” he says. “Most parents wouldn’t send their young children to the beach unsupervised and it’s same thing with the Internet.”

Mr Mutch says the Selwyn House Internet and E-mail Policy allows students to use the Internet only in class time unless special permission is given to use it outside school hours. In all situations where the students are using the Internet, a teacher must supervise. Filtering software is in place on every computer that has access to the Internet, and the teachers make sure that the students understand the policy and why it is there.

Selwyn House found the Internet Safety Kit developed nationally two years ago by the Ministry of Education helpful in setting up their own policy.

Last July, an Education Review Office report on information technology in schools found primary schools were less likely than secondary schools to have policies to deal with inappropriate use of the Internet. Mr Mutch believes all children using the Internet should be aware of the dangers whether they are at secondary or primary school.

“The Internet makes so much information incredibly easy to locate, and of course communicating through e-mail and chat rooms is simple and wide reaching. The innocence of a young person, the ease of communication and feeling of intimacy one experiences using the Internet can be a dangerous combination. It is important that we teach our children the skills and strategies they need to safely use this technology.”

Simon Mutch says ongoing ICT training and professional development for teachers is also a key ingredient, as is maintaining effective and regular communication with parents.

‘At Selwyn House, as with many schools, the staff work very hard on staying in touch with parents which makes all the difference.”

Ends

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