Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ON LINE SAFETY? You? Me? Whose responsibility?

If it takes an entire village to raise a child when you are physically with them, so where does it begin and end in a virtual world?

If it is shared technology, it is shared responsibility by all– always. Shared by parents who purchase the technology for their children, shared by schools who supply the technology, and shared by the people who use the technology. It is constant and current. Acceptable Use Policies(AUP)outline clearly what is acceptable behaviour across the board, and from that safety can be addressed.

What to post – and what not to post on line.? NetSafe – a New Zealand organization outlines many common safety broaches committed by teenagers such as home addresses, posting sensitive pictures, negative comments, first and last names next to e mail addresses and identifying photographs. It also teaches how to adjust settings for optimum privacy on social networking pages such as Facebook.

All users need to be aware of the life of anything sent, or posted on the internet. It needs to be taught explicitly and embedded in practice. In parenting – consequences for the inappropriate use that will almost certainly happen, need to be in place.

Currently a cyber bullying case at a school in Sydney has made headlines for the way information was removed from networking sites and manipulated into defamatory information.

“Several teenagers at an elite Sydney girls school are coming to terms with the full magnitude of their public betrayal via the internet. Where to begin? One has had her genitalia discussed in anatomical detail. Another has had her face likened to a koala's. A third has learnt that her circle of friends is not friendly at all: "She thinks she's best friends with lots of people but they actually hate her."
Two year 9 girls at Ascham, who thought they could casually destroy or trash the reputations of other girls in order to advance their own social standing, have left the school in disgrace. So at least some natural justice has been handed out. Thirty-one Ascham girls have been named and dissected in a posting on the social networking site MySpace… “

Ascham Fallout – Sydney Morning Herald. May 2, 2009

Sadly most people do not learn lessons until it directly impacts them even when (ironically) Ascham was one of the first schools in Australia to be involved in responsible internet behaviour.

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