The internet is a wonderful resource, enormous fun and a valuable educational tool. But like most powerful tools it can also be dangerous and we need to learn to use it safely.
Did you know that …..
79% of teenagers use Instant Messaging.
*(National Statistics from CEOP)
This part of the website seeks to help parents and children discuss the risks together and understand how to be safe online at home and at school.
If you are over the age of ten, it is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE to use someone else’s password (Computer Misuse Act 1990).
If you are over the age of ten, it is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE to send words or pictures which are offensive, obscene, threatening, or intended to cause distress. (Malicious Communications Act 1988/2003).
This would be bullying (or harassment) and is a serious offence.
All Kent schools are connected to the Kent Community Network, and most unsuitable web sites are blocked by a system called ‘Websense’. These filters are constantly maintained to block new web sites as they appear. However, no filtering system can be perfect and you should know what to do if inappropriate material appears on your screen.
If you search for ‘proxy sites’ it must be assumed that you were trying to hack past the filters and access sites that have been banned. You will be punished.
Before any Mascalls student can go online, they and their parents must sign an agreement. Attempting to go on inappropriate sites, including proxy sites is a breach of that agreement and will result in access being withdrawn. Students who access the internet (or send emails) during lessons, when they should be working on other things will also have their access withdrawn.
Social Networking (Guides to Facebook and Twitter can be found in the links at the bottom of the page)
Chat Rooms and Instant Messaging
Programs like MSN or Skype allow students to chat online and are very popular amongst young people. Some of these allow a video link via a webcam.
Personal Websites, like Bebo, MySpace, PICZO etc
These sites allow you to create you own website for free. The majority (60%) of young people in most secondary schools will own such a site. They are widely used and when used responsibly are a lot of fun. However, they are also widely misused, so parents and students need to understand the potential risks and how to avoid them. Parents should always insist that they can view their children’s websites. Discuss the ‘Golden Rules’ below with your son or daughter.
Typically a student with such a site will post their favourite photographs, music, memories, and messages. They will create links to the sites owned by all their friends and encourage their friends to visit their site and leave messages for them (and others) to read. Some of these sites encourage students to post questionnaires about themselves, which invariably leads to them giving out too much personal information. Once a photograph is posted, you lose control. Anyone can copy it and pass it on. Inevitably a few students post messages which are inappropriate. These sites are not usually moderated but if very offensive material has been posted there is usually a procedure for reporting it to the web host who will then shut the offending site down. Usually, however, the damage has already been done.
Access to these websites is inappropriate during the school day so they are blocked at Mascalls but are in widespread use by Mascalls students from home.
Golden Rules For Safe Social Networking Online
We all have something to learn. National Surveys show that:
Videoclip Sites (YouTube, Stupid Videos etc)
These sites encourage students to post videoclips. Some of the clips are very funny but many are tasteless. However, nothing posted on the web should identify Mascalls School or an individual student. It would not be acceptable for example, for images taken in school, images of teachers, or of students in Mascalls uniform to appear on these sites. This is why cameraphones are not allowed in school.
Misuse of the school network or any breach of the school’s Internet use policy should be reported to a teacher. Remember, network activity is monitored and recorded and offenders can be traced.
If anything or anyone online makes you feel suspicious, uncomfortable, bullied or pressurised, you can and should report the abuse. You can: