Tuakau College blocks students' Facebook access on school wi-fi

Tuakau College has blocked its students from using Facebook and Messenger over the school wi-fi
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Tuakau College has blocked its students from using Facebook and Messenger over the school wi-fi

Tuakau College has blocked its students from using Facebook and its Messenger app over the school wi-fi, following a segment on a television news programme about Facebook Live usage in the classroom.

Facebook Live allows users to stream video of themselves in real time over the site and these videos can be seen by anyone around the world, unless privacy settings are utilised by the user. 

Tuakau College students appeared in the segment on TV3's Story on Wednesday, along with several other school students from around the country who were live streaming themselves at the time the segment was filmed. 

Although Story blurred the students' faces, the Tuakau College uniform was visible and as a result the school blocked Facebook and Messenger from the school server.

Principal Chris Betty said the school had put the ban in place to help protect students' privacy and also ensure they were using the school wi-fi for its intended purpose - school work.

"We weren't aware of the students using Facebook Live [until the segment]," he said.

"We use technology all the time and the kids have been able to log on to the wi-fi anytime with their phones for research, but we weren't aware that they were using it in class for Facebook; so now we've shut down Facebook and Messenger."

Betty said teenagers were still growing up and they may not realise the repercussions of their actions online.

"They do dumb things. If they can do it, they'll do it. Our school's not unique. I'm sure other schools are exactly the same."

Betty said staff had spoken to the students in assembly about social media safety - how things said over the internet were there forever.

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"We talked about how you can put things [online] but would you go up to someone face to face and say it," Betty said.

"It's an ongoing thing all the time. The technology is fantastic and social media is great for certain things but there is always that sinister side.

"We continuously change our protocols to fit what the kids are doing." 

 - Stuff

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