Internet Use Policy and Procedures (including Multimedia)
Legislative and regulatory requirements mean that schools should have policies and procedures in place in relation to the safety and wellbeing of all students.
Yes, under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic).
The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has established minimum standards in relation to student welfare. This requires schools to have policies and procedures in place in relation to student welfare and bullying and harassment, including cyber bullying. These regulations stem from the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic).
- Establish a ‘Cyber Safety’ committee with a coordinator who has designated responsibilities for overseeing all areas of digital safeguarding within the school. Include staff, student, parent and Board representation on the committee.
- Develop whole school policy and procedures on the use of the internet. This could include but are not limited to: mobile phones and personal hand devices, email, chat, social networking, (Web 2.0 technologies) instant messaging, blogging, video conferencing, website learning platform, password security, filtering, technical security, personal data, videos, cameras.
- Develop and implement ‘Acceptable Use Policies’ and ‘Codes of Conduct’ to provide specific usage guidelines and consequences of breaches to ensure ICT is used responsibly and productively within the school environment. Include clear incident response flow charts to ensure all students, staff and, where relevant, parents are aware of how to deal with a breach of a policy or code of conduct. Keep records of e-safety incidents, resulting outcomes and follow up actions.
- Consider asking students to sign agreements on what is ‘acceptable use’. These agreements could be co-signed by parents, or a copy could be provided to parents, to increase awareness of the expected behaviours and consequences.
- Plan the inclusion of ‘Cybersafety’ issues within the curriculum with guidance from relevant education authorities utilising both state and territory provided teacher resources.
- Maintain an annual policy review cycle.
- Maintain ongoing training for staff. ICT-based professional learning programs are available at Independent Schools Victoria.
- Raise awareness of e-safety issues and risks and the positive opportunities offered by the new technologies through various public forums, e.g. newsletters, assemblies, parent information sessions.
You may be compromising the welfare of your students and possibly risking future legal sanctions.