PREVENTING COMPUTER MISUSE
Acceptable Use Policy for Internet Usage
The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s internet resources in safe and effective manner.
Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if our Acceptable Use Policy is not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions as outlined will be imposed.
It is envisaged that school and Board of Management Representatives will revise this Policy annually. This Policy should be read carefully to indicate that the conditions of use are accepted and understood.
This version of Acceptable Use Policy was created in 2006
The school will employ a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet. These strategies are as follows:
• Internet usage will always be supervised by a teacher.
• Filtering systems will be used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
• The school will regularly monitor pupil’s Internet safety.
• Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted.
• Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
• The use of personal floppy discs or CD-ROMs is prohibited.
• Pupils will observe good “netiquette” (etiquette on the Internet) at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
World Wide Web:
• Pupils will not visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
• Pupils will use the Internet for educational purposes only.
• Pupils will be familiar with copyright issues relating online learning.
• Pupils will never disclose or publicise personal information.
• Pupils will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, may be monitored for unusual activity, security or networking management reasons.
• School staff may not use the Internet for personal use during school hours, with the exception of break time.
• School staff are strictly forbidden to access inappropriate material on the Internet at any time.
• Pupils will use only approved class e-mail accounts under supervision and with permission from a teacher.
• Pupils will not send or receive material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
• Pupils will not reveal their own or other pupil’s personal details, such as addresses, telephone numbers or pictures.
• Pupils will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone.
• Pupils will note that sending and receiving e-mail attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.
• Students will only have access to chat rooms, discussion forums or other electronic communication forums that have been approved by the school.
• Chat rooms, discussion forums and other electronic communication forums will only be used for educational purposes and will always be supervised.
• Face-to-face meetings with someone organised via Internet chat will be forbidden.
School Web Site:
• Pupils will be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the World Wide Web.
• The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by the ICT co-ordinator.
• Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on Web pages with a copyright notice prohibiting the copying of such work without express written permission.
• Digital photographs, audio or video clips of individual students will not be published on the school web site. Instead photographs, audio and video clips will focus on group activities.
• Personal pupil information including home address and contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
• Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.
The school will provide information on the following legislation relating to use of the Internet which teachers, students and parents should familiarise themselves with:
o Child Trafficking and Pornography Bill 1997
o 1993 Interception Act
o Video Recordings Act 1989
o The Data Protection Act 1988
The school will inform pupils and parents of key support structures and organisations that deal with illegal material or harmful use of the Internet.
Misuse of the Internet may result in disciplinary action, including written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges and, in extreme cases, suspension. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.
We must put measures into place now in order to prevent computer misuse – only then will we feel confident that we have taken all reasonable steps to protect the children in our charge.
SECTION A Virus Introduction And Copyright Breaches
A list of all software purchased by the school under site-licences is promulgated separately. The school policy is that only software purchased by the school is allowed to be used on school premises. Pupils are not allowed to bring private software disks into school and, in particular, ‘arcade’ games software is banned. This policy is designed not only to ensure that the school is not in breach of copyright laws but also to reduce the risk of viruses being introduced into school computer systems. Pupils are encouraged to provide their own ‘work disks’ but these must not be used to store software which is subject to copyright restrictions.
1. Pupils who are found to be in breach of this policy should have their disks confiscated.
2. Confiscated disks should be forwarded to the I.T. Co-ordinator who will eliminate any viruses and also check to see if a breach of copyright has been made. In such cases, the I.T. Co-ordinator will forward a report to the Board of Management who will decide on appropriate action to be taken.
3. Virus protection software should be installed on all hard disks and floppy disks to reduce the risk of infection. This software will be updated at frequent intervals to deal with new strains of viruses as they appear.
SECTION B Unauthorised Access
A great deal of information of a personal, confidential and sensitive nature is stored in school computer systems, either on floppy disk or hard disk. Such data is subject to the Data Protection Act 1984 and precautions must be taken to protect it from unauthorised access. The following actions are recommended:
1. Set access to files so as to limit access to the owner of the file only.
2. Use a password system in order to restrict access to authorised personnel only.
N.B. a dedicated hacker can break down a password within 24 hours, so passwords should be changed frequently.
3. When floppy disks which contain confidential data are not in use, they should be locked in a safe or a strong cupboard.
4. Some computer systems incorporate a physical locking device for the hard disk. If a hard disk is used to store confidential data, it should preferably be physically locked or if this is not possible, the computer containing it should be locked in a cupboard.
PREVENTING COMPUTER MISUSE
Hackers can gain access to data contained within any computer system which is connected to a telephone line via a modem or to a local area network. We have both a need to protect our data from unauthorised access (internal & external) and a duty to prevent our pupils from ‘hacking’ into external computer systems when using school computers and modems.
The following actions are recommended in addition to those listed in the above paragraph:
1. Pupils should not be allowed to access the internet or any other external communications system unless they are supervised by a teacher.
2. Logging-in passwords and codes for the internet and other communications channels should not be divulged to pupils and these should be securely locked away when not in use.
3. Initial logging-in procedures for internet should be carried out by the supervising teacher and not by the pupils themselves.
SECTION C Computer Pornography
We are naturally concerned about all forms of computer misuse but the greatest threat to our pupils’ well-being is from computer pornography and since we have a duty of care, we must obviously take steps to counter this threat. It is an offence, under the Obscene Publications Acts, to publish an obscene article and since computer disks and CD ROM’s contain information which can be displayed in words and pictures, they are therefore articles in the spirit of the law. Furthermore, under the terms of the Children Act 1978, it is an offence to possess pornography which involves children under the age of 16. There are two obvious ways by which computer pornography can be brought into the school. It could be downloaded from the internet or any other external communications system or it could simply be carried into the school on floppy disks or CD ROM’s.
In order to protect our pupils from the dangers of such pornography, the following actions are recommended.
1. As in Section A, pupils should not bring CD ROM’s and floppy disks (except work disks) to school.
2. Pupils should not be allowed to use computers unless properly supervised.
3. Work disks should be inspected at random. In particular, large graphics files (which could contain pornographic pictures) should be inspected.
4. As in the preceding paragraph, no pupil should be allowed to access the internet or any other external communications channel unless under direct supervision, and they should not have access to logging-in codes and procedures.
5. The school should only allow access to the internet through approved ‘service providers’ who provide a ‘walled-garden’ service to ensure that all unsuitable material is filtered out.
Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.