Digital Communication at TAS
At TAS we aim to have a safe learning environment for all students. This includes the online environment which many of our students inhabit regularly. Students have managed access to computers, Chromebooks and other devices to access resources and the internet.
- They are allowed to bring their own device to school, and to utilize the school WiFi on their devices, once they have a signed cyber-safety agreement returned to the school.
- The school manages and monitors network traffic. We use N4L as our provider and actively manage the internet so that access to violent and pornographic searches and websites are blocked.
- The school issues all students with a Google Account. This gives them an @tauraroa.school.nz email address, which opens the world of the Google Suite of applications to them. We are able to manage this access, so that some applications can be accessed only by senior students.
- We have many computing resources around the school which students may access in class. Students may log-in to these devices which all automatically connect to the internet, and in the case of PCs connect to the school intranet. This access is monitored by the teacher in the classroom. A student may have this access revoked due to misuse of digital communication and/or the internet on any device.
- Students are encouraged to seek help from staff (including their waka teacher, dean, guidance counsellor and from the head of IT) when they have an issue with anything being accessed or posted online including through chat or sms applications. We ask that students keep a record of anything unwanted/unwelcome as this helps with investigation and dealing with other students who've over-stepped.
An important recent development in this area is the HDCA - The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015.
Netsafe are the approved agency for dealing with serious complaints covered by this act. They also offer support for people and organisations.
From their webpage:
"Under the Act, harmful digital communications can be private messages or public content. They include when someone uses the internet, email, apps, social media or mobile phones to send or publish harmful content.
To be considered a harmful digital communication under the Act, the content needs to
- Affect an individual; and
- Cause (or is likely to cause) that individual serious emotional distress; and
- Seriously breach one or more of the 10 communication principles outlined in the Act."
The 10 Communication Principles of the Act.
The 10 principles say that a digital communication should not:
- disclose sensitive personal facts about a person;
- be threatening, intimidating, or menacing;
- be grossly offensive;
- be indecent or obscene;
- be used to harass a person;
- make a false allegation;
- breach confidences;
- incite or encourage anyone to send a deliberately harmful message;
- incite or encourage a person to commit suicide; and
- denigrate a person’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
In 2017 there were 107 charges brought under this act, with 77 convictions recorded. (https://catalogue.data.govt.nz/dataset/number-of-people-charged-and-convicted-of-harmful-digital-communications-act-offences/resource/0ab34e4a-1eb8-4bc6-8baa-27b72217df0f)
Reporting - students are encouraged to:
- Let a teacher know if they have accessed something unexexpected on their device.
- Ask at the office for assistance if they are having login or connectivity issues.
- Inform their teacher/dean/counsellor or the IT team if they have any issues with any digital communication - especially if that content falls under the 10 principles above.
- Email the cyber-safety officer if they have concerns, questions and/or evidence of harmful or potential harmful content or communication - especially when it affects student safety and learning.