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General Chat Thread, Monitoring and filtering student internet use - Legal requirement or just advisable? in General; As per title, is it actually a legal requirement for schools to monitor and filter internet use, or is it ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    Monitoring and filtering student internet use - Legal requirement or just advisable?

    As per title, is it actually a legal requirement for schools to monitor and filter internet use, or is it just adviseable and something which has evolved from the historic use of internet in schools.

    This stems from a conversation I had earlier today with a consultant who hinted at the idea that in the future students would most likely have un-filtered and un-monitored access to the internet, and he said there was no legal requirement as such for the school to actually monitor or filter internet content, which I always thought was the case. After a liberal amount of googling, I can't actually find anything that states this, only policy documents from various schools and LEA's which on their own are not law as such.

    Anyone shed some light on this, and anyone have any opinions on this (I'm sure you all do)

    Mike.

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    As a college, my employer has a requirement as part of our AUP with JANET to monitor Internet use, which JANET say is a legal requirement placed on them.

    As for filtering, we're required to do this under the recent changes to the prevention of terrorism act, and also as part of the rules around safeguarding.

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    Fazza's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't a school have a Duty of Care to their pupils (who are children after all) and having unfiltered internet connection would give them access to unsolicited access to pornography. Even the most innocent search in Google can bring inappropriate websites up.

    Try turning off your monitoring & filtering and see how many days it takes until the Police pay a visit - not forgetting the solicitors letters from the pupils parents.

    We could start a sweepstake - I'd give it 36hrs after you turn it off when the pupils are back in September...

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    rich_tech's Avatar
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    I was also told monitoring came under Janet network when I asked an lea worker about it previously with our school when I first started here

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    There are a couple of things to remember here about what you are trying to cover.

    Our friends at Smoothwall have worked with Dr Brian Bandey on some of this and he has a good LinkedIn group which has some healthy discussions about the legal aspects of eSafety. It would be worth looking on there to get some areas to investigate.

    The Duty of Care is the prime area where you are likely to be pointed to a legal requirement to protect children. The idea that a child will be given completely unfiltered and un-monitored access seems a possibility, but in the same way you don't give children a free rein in a science lab with chemicals then you have to consider what is safe and appropriate with technology.

    I have made several requests now of OFSTED and DfE for a list of legislation affecting technology and gotten nowhere.

    The best thing to consider is that Internet access is a risk, the same as using javelins in PE, chemicals in Labs, knives in Food Tech ... and it is assessed accordingly.

    Advice from places like the Safer Internet Centre is checked out to cover legal requirements so you might be best asking them the same question.

    HTH

  6. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    tom_newton (23rd September 2012)

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazza View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't a school have a Duty of Care to their pupils (who are children after all) and having unfiltered internet connection would give them access to unsolicited access to pornography. Even the most innocent search in Google can bring inappropriate websites up.

    Try turning off your monitoring & filtering and see how many days it takes until the Police pay a visit - not forgetting the solicitors letters from the pupils parents.

    We could start a sweepstake - I'd give it 36hrs after you turn it off when the pupils are back in September...
    I have to agree, we have had some staff here who want students to have unfiltered access. They go very quiet when I say would you make the decision and take the fall for it. I know my sister does not allow her son to have unfiltered internet access (He will be a Year 8 in September) she also monitors what he does access and does not even allow him to use facebook without her watching. I agree that we should be teaching kids to be more safe on the internet. With things happening on Twitter where people are actually being charged for saying certain things - how long till this happens to YOUR students?

    I know a good few parents who wouldnt be happy at their child getting unfiltered access, those who allow their kids to do it probably have little idea whats on the internet.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    It's not just Child "A" who thinks it's funny and does not care, but the 30 other children arround them that may be disrupted by child "A" .


    If you go for unfiltered access then you MUST MUST MUST have a cast iron AUP, MUST have a pastoral system that will follow up the AUP with correct and proper sanctions, MUST have logging anyway to act as proof of AUP misuse.

    Rob

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    If you go for unfiltered access then you MUST MUST MUST have a cast iron AUP, MUST have a pastoral system that will follow up the AUP with correct and proper sanctions, MUST have logging anyway to act as proof of AUP misuse.
    If it comes to being legal situation an AUP isnt worth the paper its written on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    If it comes to being legal situation an AUP isnt worth the paper its written on.
    You print your's , what a waste

    It's true, but without any AUP and with no filtering then the students are given no acceptable bounds to work within.

    Whilst there may be no direct legal requirement, as mentioned previously we have a Duty of Care not only to the pupils but to the integrity of the organisation.

    How many of us would advocate the constant downloading of Movies and cracked games from the WEB using school facilities.

    Rob

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo

    You print your's , what a waste

    It's true, but without any AUP and with no filtering then the students are given no acceptable bounds to work within.
    You need to print them to get parents to sign them surely? It has to be opt-in ... not opt out

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    You need to print them to get parents to sign them surely? It has to be opt-in ... not opt out
    No reason why it cant be electronic?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Children can't opt into an AUP on their own, so something like a captive portal wont work. You need the parents permission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    This stems from a conversation I had earlier today with a consultant who hinted at the idea that in the future students would most likely have un-filtered and un-monitored access to the internet
    I recall a very similar discussion with a BSF consultant, he said:

    "Students will be mature enough to be responsible for their internet use and won't use it for games playing, Facebook or looking at adult material"

    The only students I knew like that were mature students I was at uni with!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    The only students I knew like that were mature students I was at uni with!
    Thats it though, they are probably being compared to Uni students?

    Big difference between a student who has to pay their tuition fee to a student getting pretty much a free ride education. Not forgetting the age difference, if they are mature enough to use unfiltered internet access then they are mature enough to drive, drink and have kids... oh wait...

    The only way unfiltered access would actually work would be each time they accessed something like p0rn then they must be punished. Although I would ask what is really the difference between having filtered access which you can then categorize any blocked sites and unfiltered responsible usage? I am barely having to allow websites because our categorized sites is fine. We also pre-warned staff to send us websites they use so we can make sure they are allowed. Things like driving/drinking/games/movies/cinema have age limits for reasons unless they want to do age limits on unfiltered access as well? Whats wrong with exposing them to 18+ films if they want to give unfiltered access?

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    A timely discussion: I was just about to start a similar thread on this to see if there was anyone granting staff or students unfiltered access.

    When half the students have smart phones in their pockets with unfiltered internet access, there could be an argument to say all the filters are doing is slowing down access for everyone and being an irritant when it is blocking things needlessly.

    I'm in a sixth form college - I wouldn't feel quite the same I imagine at the thought of giving Year 5s unfiltered access. In an age of BYOD with their own data links the filtering feels a bit moot.

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