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Internet Safety Initiatives


17 September 2004

Internet Safety Initiatives

The Internet Safety Group The government through the Ministry of Education has been the prime funder of the work of the Internet Safety Group (ISG) since 2001. The funding for 2004 amounts to $550,000. This funding covers the sponsorship of the ISG’s director, the NetSafe Kit, the training modules, the website, conference sponsorship, research. It also contributes to other cybersafety work that the ISG does in the community.

In 2004-05, $200,000 has been provided to the ISG in addition to the current appropriation. This is to enable the ISG to increase its publicity and communication activities, its direct work with schools and fund further research on barriers to implementation of cybersafety. NetSafe website provides information for parents and schools about internet safety on www.netsafe.org.nz.

Internet Safety Kit - The NetSafe Kit (a world first) provides schools with practical and accurate information on how to establish and maintain a cybersafe school, and what to do if incidents occur. It was sent to all schools and libraries in mid-2003.

Training modules in cybersafety build on information in the NetSafe Kit, targeting key personnel including principals, ICT managers, network administrators, boards of trustees and librarians. The modules will be delivered by licensed providers under the direction of the Internet Safety Group. Funding has been allocated to extend the availability of the cybersafety training modules to all schools across New Zealand. The regions that are currently receiving workshops as part of the pilot training programme include Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch. Presentations are made to school staff and parents/boards of trustees. They emphasise the need for appropriate policies, procedures and filtering and monitoring.

NetSafe resources to schools, parents and community groups. These include more than 100,000 pamphlets distributed in the last year.

The Ministry of Education’s Help Desk for Schools works closely with the ISG and provides a first point of contact for all concerns and issues around internet safety issues. The phone number is 0800 22 55 42.

Audit Services Funding has also been allocated to support schools through subsidising audit services. It is estimated that the Ministry of Education will be able to provide half the cost of having an audit and/or a hard drive clean-up for up to 230 schools in 2004-05.
Managed Internet Services (MIS) Project Through the MIS Project, the Ministry of Education is providing a suite of managed internet services free to all state and integrated schools for the next three years. Managed Internet Services include: A firewall which screens all inbound and outbound traffic protecting schools’ computers and servers from outside hackers, penetrations, system scans and unauthorised breaches Content filtering to prevent the access of inappropriate websites Email filtering to prevent the sending or receiving of offensive material and oversize attachments Management of spam and junk emails such as chain letters, jokes, image files and screen savers Usage monitoring and reporting.

Other Background Information According to experts at world-wide conferences, New Zealand is regarded at the forefront of this work internationally. Very few other countries have such an integrated national programme for internet safety supported by government.

Under the Ministry of Education’s National Administration Guideline 5, schools are required to maintain a safe physical and emotional learning environment.

In 2001 the Education Review Office reported that 82% of schools were taking steps to address the inappropriate use of the internet. Since then anecdotal evidence and increased awareness suggests almost all schools have policies and practices related to internet safety.

The ISG works in a formal partnership with the Police Youth Education Service so cybersafety education is included in Kia Kaha and Keeping Ourselves Safe programmes.

ENDS

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