Cyber Safety for schools

There is a responsibility a Board of Trustees has to “maintain a safe physical and emotional environment, a responsibility to consult with the community.” This includes the cybersafety of staff, students and parents on the school grounds.

It is important to remember that wikis and blogs are open environments hence are subject to abuse by those within and outside of the immediate community. It is recognised that the use of internet tools such as the wiki bring great benefits to teaching and learning but there are certain responsibilities teachers, principals and schools have to ensure students are safe online.

Striking the balance between maximising the benefits of these technologies and minimising risks is fraught with problems and potential minefields. It is essential to have in place an effective school cybersafety policy.

With the ever changing face of the internet and software in general it is necessary  that all staff take some responsibility to maintain a cybersafe school environment. Provision needs to be made to ensure the students and other members of the school community receive education about the safe and responsible use of present and developing information and communication technologies.
It is advisable that an information page be provided on the main navigation toolbar of the wiki linking to an area where visitors can be educated about the role of the wiki and need for cyber-safe practises across the site.
The safety of children is the first concern. It is essential that the teacher responsible makes every reasonable effort to monitor conduct on the class wiki in order to maintain a positive learning community and that all participants will respect each other’s time and efforts by supporting the same positive approach.

The ‘cybersafety stock take’ should assess the policies and procedures that currently promote the safe and responsible use of ICT within your school. It should also assess the practices that you are currently engaging in to educate your staff, students and parents about the school’s cybersafety initiatives.

Useful links:
Netsafe’s Step by step guide to cypersafety
Twiki Issues: Keys to safe and positive wiki
Cyber-safety Stock check