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School ICT Policies Thread, Facebook, myspace, bebo etc in School Administration; Hi all, just wondered what the general thoughts were on use of these websites in school for the students. We ...
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    Andi's Avatar
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    Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Hi all,
    just wondered what the general thoughts were on use of these websites in school for the students.

    We are a boarding school, and some of the housemasters are saying that they think pupils should have access to these sites, where we have had a block on them since we had a case of cyber-bullying at the school using one of these sites.

    I presume we aren't in a minority for blocking them, but I wondered whether there were any other schools in a similar situation.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    I'd look at a way of enabling access in particular areas of the school or after the school day...

    They're a nightmare to have available - the staff too! Have you got a single network? How are you blocking content?

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    Andi's Avatar
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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    We use webblocker which is part of our watchguard firewall setup for our filtering and it works fine.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Blocked fully for students but today we have noticed we are having major issues with certain members of staff spending their days on facebook and bebo. Nightmare, if we block them for staff it won't be five minutes before somebody claims to be hosting work or something stupid like that.

    Tom

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Blocked for students, I used a page of the copyright that's displayed on every bebo page to block it by adding it to our bad words dictionary. Stops them using proxy's to bypass it.

    Staff are filters for bad words, but can access pretty much anything. Sadly I don't control the staff side of things anymore, or I'd have unrestricted, but audited access.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    We have them blocked for everyone - there is no reason to justify their use. If staff are posting work there, then they shouldn't be, if kids are, then they shouldn't be.

    There is too much at risk allowing access in school.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    > We are a boarding school, and some of the housemasters are saying
    > that they think pupils should have access to these sites, where we
    > have had a block on them since we had a case of cyber-bullying at the
    > school using one of these sites.

    You're in about the one situation where blocking social networking sites might reduce cyberbullying - I'm guessing your pupils don't get much access to those sites outside of what you provide. If they want to use a social networking site in school, I'd reckon provide them with one that you control.

    I've found that blocking Facebook, etc, doesn't really help stop cyberbullying - if our pupils want to say something nasty about each other they can simply wait until they can use their computer at home. All that blocking the site at school does is let us pretend that everything's okay.

    I'd prefer to be able to keep an eye on what was going on on their sites - maybe some kind of filter on our gateway that examines traffic going to Facebook and scans for bad words or similar?

    --
    David Hicks

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    aliv25
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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    We have them blocked for everyone - there is no reason to justify their use. If staff are posting work there, then they shouldn't be, if kids are, then they shouldn't be.

    There is too much at risk allowing access in school.
    I agree with localzuk, only because I cant access any social networking sites at work too :-( if one cant have it then none can have it at all! There is no way staff can justify 'oh i need it for work reasons' and students 'oh i need it for homework / research'...its just an excuse for a flirt online.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    I would, in part, agree with David Hicks when he says that blocking these sites in school doesn't stop the bullying, as the kids will simply go online at home. That said, what blocking them can achieve is opening the door to a conversation on e-safety. We block the sites, the kids go "why can't I get Facebook anymore?" and we tell them (obviously without all the gristly details of exactly who might be preying on them and why!). It doesn't stop the bullying, but it can help to protect and educate against some of the other risks posed by socnets.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Webblocker is not bad but I have always found it a bit lacking on reporting and control. We went to SchoolGuardian and use that instead.

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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    Would any of you guys be interested in a closer monitoring solution... eg. allow myspace, but record posts, access per myspace profile etc...

    It's something we are considering for future dev.

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    Andi's Avatar
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    Re: Facebook, myspace, bebo etc

    An idea we were toying with would be to ask the parents of the boarders to sign a consent form as to whether their son was allowed on social networking sites. Then setup a rule in the firewall that allows access by these users at certain times of the day.

    In order to police this I would have to master the reporting features of the Watchguard firewall, which is so far something I have never managed to get my head around.

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