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Schools face increasing challenge

Schools face increasing challenge as more pornography is accessed via their computers

Local computer forensics authority says his company is being called in more often to sort out pornography on school computers

MEDIA RELEASE – October 1, 2015

New Zealand schools are facing increasing challenges from porn being accessed through school computers.

Brian Eardley-Wilmot, MD of Computer Forensics NZ Ltd, says his company is being called in more often these days to investigate schools’ computers and report to school authorities.

“The amount of inappropriate computer use definitely seems to be increasing. Most of what we see is adult porn. Fortunately, we’ve only once come across objectionable material such as child abuse pornography. After consultation with the school, we advised the Department of internal Affairs who seized the computer and dealt with it appropriately.”

Eardley-Wilmot’s concern is that three things are coming together to make such abuse more possible: ever-increasing internet use; people becoming more technically savvy when it comes to getting around computer system blocks, and the “normalisation” of pornography.

“Some people, including teachers and students, seem to be becoming desensitised to pornographic material. They seem to think it is normal to view it in an everyday fashion.”

Similar concerns were raised by Jenny Munro, an Otago Youth Wellness Trust senior practitioner, in a recent Otago Daily Times story. She said that every day young people faced a “smorgasbord of sexualised social media content.''

The story also said 42 per cent of male university students surveyed regularly viewed porn. Some of these will become teachers, and some likely already are.

What schools can do

Given this new climate, in which “pornography is regarded as normal”, Eardley-Wilmot urged schools to guard against porn invading their computers by seeking advice from the Education Department as to whether there was a blacklist of porn sites they could use in their blocking procedures.

He also urged them to seek technical advice from the ministry as to how to lock down their school’s server to make it difficult to bypass controls and even have an alarm procedure when such attempts are made.

“Schools should also act fast if they suspect any such activity as it can quickly get out of control.

“If not, they may face and angry parent whose daughter has been horrified, or even traumatised, by viewing hardcore porn – as well as the school’s Board of Trustees.”

He pointed schools and parents to Netsafe for further advice. Netsafe has also recently added a section on helping children upset by exposure to porn.


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