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Cyber Safety Policy
Aims of the cyber safety policy:
• Protecting and educating students and staff in their use of technology.
• Informing teachers and parents/guardians about their role in safeguarding and protecting Virginia International Private School students at school and at home.
• Putting policies and procedures in place to help prevent incidents of cyber-bullying within the school community.
• Having effective and clear measures to deal with and monitor cases of cyberbullying.
Virginia International Private School ensures that:
• Students will be made aware of acceptable and unacceptable Internet use.
• Students will be taught, where appropriate, to be critically aware of the materials/content they access on-line and be guided to validate the accuracy of information.
• Students will be educated about the effective use of the Internet.
• Students will be taught how to evaluate Internet content by ICT teachers.
• Students will be taught how to report unpleasant Internet content to their class teacher, and supervisor.
• The school Internet access is designed expressly for student use and includes filtering appropriate to the needs of our students.
• Where students are allowed to freely search the internet, staff should be vigilant in monitoring the content of the websites they visit.
• The use of Internet-derived materials by students and staff complies with copyright law.
• All students and staff understand the importance of password security and the need to log out of accounts.
Social networking and personal publishing:
• The school has a duty of care to provide a safe learning environment for all its students and staff and will ensure the following:
• Blocking student access to social media sites within school boundaries.
• Educating students about why they must not reveal their personal details or those of others, or arrange to meet anyone from an online site.
• Educating both students and staff as to why they should not engage in online discussion revealing personal matters relating to any members of the school community.
• Educating both students and staff about ensuring all technological equipment is always password/PIN protected.
• Informing staff not to accept invitations from students or parents/guardians on social media.
• Informing staff about regularly checking their security settings on personal social media profiles to minimize the risk of access of personal information.
Parents’ role at home:
• Keep the computer in a central place, where everyone can see what’s on the screen.
• Stay involved (without stepping on their toes constantly) on what they are doing online – especially if it’s got to do with searching and looking for new information etc.
• Teach them about “stranger danger”. Tell them the “No-Can-Go” sites and “No-Can-Play” game rules ahead of time. Check out which sites they want to access, or which games they want to play and tell them if they are acceptable or no-go zones until they reach a certain specified age.
• Set time limits. Giving kids unlimited access to online causes unlimited problems for parents. Tell them how many hours they have a week.
• Explain online habits. Explain sensibly, in an age-appropriate manner if deemed beneficial, how strangers can play pretend games and they are not really who they claim to be.
• Switch Safe Search on as a setting. It’s great that most inappropriate content does get filtered by Etisalat or du here in Dubai, but there are many slip-ups, and search results may often have content that’s not age-appropriate.
• Remind them that they should not engage in any form of cyberbullying – even in jest. They should not do anything online that they would be ashamed of doing in real life.
• Beyond online, watch what content you have on your computer. Often we receive an email that is not age-appropriate for our children, but we leave that in our mailboxes or desktops. Set the example, clean up.
• If your children have started to do their homework online, or are gathering information, researching facts, etc., explain to them clearly how they should not “copy and paste” (plagiarize) content for their homework unless they mention sources, etc. Their teachers should help them understand this, but you should make it clear that this is not on.
• Be involved. Be courteous. Be alert. Show ongoing interest in what they are playing, reading, and doing online. And always remind them that there is life (and a wonderful one) outside that screen.