School enforces cyber-safety pacts
Timaru Boys' High School students could jeopardise their studies if caught breaking a strict cyber-safety agreement, deputy rector Rod Sparrow says.
The issue of internet safety was raised this week after the government launched its first Cyber Security Awareness Week.
Like many schools, Timaru Boys' students must sign an agreement before being issued with a computer login.
Mr Sparrow said there were serious consequences for students caught breaking the rules.
The agreement requires students to avoid any involvement with material or activities which could put their own or the school's privacy, safety or security at risk.
Students breaking the rules are denied access for a period of time.
"It can have serious consequences if they (need) it for their classwork, so we have to be careful about how we do that.
"In a more serious instance, it could lead to a stand-down or suspension, but we've never got there."
However, the school did not like denying students access to the internet, he said.
"Computers are important tools for schools and we want to make them as accessible to the boys, with boundaries."
Teachers can monitor what sites students are accessing. This can be done while the student is online, or at a later stage by monitoring the computer's history, Mr Sparrow said.
He said there have been cases where boys have tested the boundaries.
"Guys do go on and find ways to get into blocked sites. If it's blocked they try to work around it, and we try to minimise that. We wish we didn't have to, but unfortunately that's not the case.
"It requires staff to be vigilant. Teachers float around to see what the guys are doing and that's important."
Cyber Security Awareness Week encourages people to be aware of the risks when using a range of tools from computers to cell phones. Cyber crime is estimated to have cost the country $625 million last year.
Canterbury has the highest rate of reports in the country including hacking, scams, privacy breaches and objectionable material, according to NetSafe, which monitors online crime.
NetSafe has received an average of five reports a day, but believes that was just a fraction of the total number of incidents occurring throughout the country.
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