The internet and education
The internet and digital technologies are powerful educational resources when they are used effectively. Understanding the technology, being a skilful user and displaying safe effective practice is as important as having a written safety policy and code of practice. Education in appropriate, effective and safe use is an essential element of the school curriculum. This education is as important for staff and parents as it is for pupils.
Click Clever Click Safe
The ‘Click Clever Click Safe’ strategy for keeping children safe online has been developed by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).
Information on the Click Clever Click Safe strategy can be accessed on the nidirect website.
Internet safety education for pupils
There are a number of courses and resources aimed specifically at pupils dealing with various aspects of safety.
Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 KidsSMART
KidsSMART is an award winning practical online Internet safety programme website for schools, young people, parents, and agencies, produced by the children's Internet charity Childnet International. There are resources suitable for primary and secondary pupils including lesson plans, leaflets, posters, activity days and interactive games.
Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 - Know IT All for Schools
Know IT All for Schools is an interactive CD-ROM designed to help pupils (KS3/4) understand a broad range of issues when using the Internet or mobile phone. Developed by Childnet International for teachers to use in the classroom, sections from the CD could also be used in a whole school assembly or as self study for pupils.
Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 - ThinkUknow
ThinkUknow is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre online resources for children between the ages of 8-16. The resources draw attention to what young people know about the risks they may encounter whilst using the Internet.
The interactive package includes films, leaflets, posters, the thinkuknow website and a training pack for all Child protection professionals in the UK.
The website includes games,a ThinkUknowCybercafe ,information on emerging technology, chatting, gaming and blogging, and ultimately how to report anything that they think is suspicious. PSNI deliver ThinkUknow as part of their Citizen and Safety Education (CASE) programme. This programme is delivered to schools on request to PSNI.
Childnet’s Sorted website is a resource produced entirely by young people for young people and adults on the issues of Internet security. It gives important information and advice on how to protect computers from the dangers of viruses, phishing scams, spyware and Trojans.
Involving pupils in drawing up safe and effective use guidelines and designing posters for display is a good educational practice.
See examples from Kent Community Network .
Internet safety awareness for school staff
Educators should be fully aware of the Department’s policy and strategy on ICT use in teaching and learning.
Children and the net
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) offers an online introductory safeguarding course for anyone who works with children.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre
The CEOP agency runs regular one-day courses for teachers in Northern Ireland. These are advertised directly to schools.
Teachers can download lesson plans, teaching activities and pupils' worksheets by registering with the Thinkuknow website.
Internet awareness for parents and carers
By promoting Internet safety at home, parents and carers can help to reinforce the messages taught in school and help to equip their children with the skills needed to use technology safely, especially where the filtering and firewalls on C2k systems in schools are not available.
Parents and carers are advised to:
- discuss with their children the rules for using the Internet and decide together when, how long, and what comprises appropriate use
- get to know the sites their children visit, and talk to them about what they are learning
- ensure that they give their agreement before their children give out personal identifying information in any electronic communication on the Internet, such as a picture, an address, a phone number, the school name, or financial information such as credit card or bank details. In this way they can protect their children (and themselves) from unwanted or unacceptable overtures from strangers, from unplanned expenditure and from fraud
- encourage their children not to respond to any unwelcome, unpleasant or abusive messages, and to tell them if they receive any such messages or images
For comprehensive advice for parents on computers, internet and safety, see the nidirect website.
Childnet International provides a range of resources, including the Know IT All resource for Parents , to support schools in sharing Internet safety information with parents and carers, Internet Safety Leaflets and events. The resources include new content presented by children and young people especially for their peers which both parents and teachers can show and children can use by themselves. There is a quick overview and summary of the E-safety advice for parents in 7 different languages and a 'text only' version of all content.
A separate section is available for teachers on how they can use this resource with parents, what other resources and advice is available (including from Becta and CEOP) and how to use the sections for children and young people as 'stand alone' resources in the classroom or in an assembly.
There is also a Parent’s version of KidsSMART an award-winning practical online Internet safety programme website for schools, young people, parents, and agencies.
More advice is available on the Childnet International website.
Community use of school ICT resources
Through the Extended Schools Programme schools are increasingly used as a community resource. Computer use by the community should also be covered by a safe use policy.
When formulating your policy, consider:
- are the school’s ICT facilities ever used as a community resource
- what use is made of the facilities, and who takes responsibility for this
- is information on ICT use and Internet safety contained within the school’s lettings policy
- how can you ensure that community users of school ICT resources sign a (tailored) acceptable use policy or code of practice
- how will the process be managed
- how will existing technological solutions to Internet safety impinge upon community use
- will filtering and blocking profiles used during the school day be too restrictive
- can these restrictions be varied by factors such as time of access or password
- how will community use of school ICT facilities be monitored
- how will incidents of misuse be reported and managed