Netsafe works alongside schools and kura. We regularly attend a range of events to support schools and kura with their digital citizenship development and advise on online safety. This includes events like the innovative #edchatnz conference, ULearn and presentations to schools around New Zealand.

What are the common issues facing New Zealand schools and kura?

Schools and kura are grappling with the continued rise in the demand for, and use, of digital technology. The increase in students using personal devices blurs the boundaries between school and home, as well as online and offline.

While this offers exciting opportunities for learning it does mean some schools may experience a range of challenges. These challenges range from cyberbullying to managing students’ access to inappropriate content. Sometimes these challenges prompt schools to put processes in place that foster the digital citizenship capability of their community.

Five ways a school can approach digital citizenship and cybersafety

Creating a cybersafe school requires ongoing leadership and engagement with the school community. DIgital citizenship goals should be integrated into your school’s annual and strategic plans as this will allow schools to keep up with increased user confidence, new skill requirements and changing attitudes.

Proactive schools:

  1. Understand their stewardship obligations under NAG 5;
  2. Talk about what is important and appropriate with their learners and community;
  3. Put in place incident response processes and secure systems;
  4. Have ongoing plans to develop everyone’s capabilities; and
  5. Deliberately weave digital citizenship into meaningful curriculum programmes.

#edchatnzHow does Netsafe support schools?

Netsafe is committed to helping schools and kura plan for, and manage, digital citizenship and cybersafety. We work with partners, agencies and organisations across the sector and are funded by the Ministry of Education to provide three key services to schools/kura:

  1. education to increase schools’ capability;
  2. a response centre to help manage harm when incidents occur; and
  3. advice across the sector to strengthen the overall approaches to online safety in New Zealand.

What services does NetSafe offer schools?

Netsafe provides a range of resources for schools related to digital citizenship. This includes the Netsafe Kit, the NetSafe Schools programme and the Netsafe Digital Passport (will be relaunched in 2017).

Netsafe has the responsibility to receive, assess and investigate complaints about harm caused by digital communications under the Harmful Digital Communications Act. As Netsafe are currently establishing the services needed for this function which includes reviewing the services provided to schools.

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Can NetSafe come and work in our school or community?

Netsafe can facilitate and present over the phone/video conference and face-to-face. Check out these great stories about Apiti School’s work on digital citizenship, supported by NetSafe:

Apitischool

Join other educators and talk with us in the Virtual Learning Network: NetSafe Group.

More advice and information

1. The Netsafe Kit for Schools: Tools for schools to plan a whole of school approach to Digital Citizenship (Netsafe, 2014).
2. Digital Citizenship in Schools: A summary of important concepts for schools/kura (Netsafe).
3. Responsible Use Agreements: Downloadable templates for staff, students and communities to use as a starting point for discussions.
4. Contact Netsafe if you’d like further help on 0508 NETSAFE or netsafe.org.nz/report