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digital safety in Texas – how well do you know the statutes and laws?

Digital safety, internet safety – whatever you call it – it’s becoming an increasingly important aspect of education in Texas. More tech-savvy than ever, students now have access to better technology and thus better resources. And as BYOD and 1:1 schemes become more commonplace across school districts, the potential for online distractions and potential internet safety risks inevitably grow.

 

Education mandates and laws in Texas

Did you know that the state has a statute mandating that the government shall supply resources on Internet safety to schools? Added to the Texas Education Code in 2007, the following factors have been outlined:

  • The potential dangers of allowing personal information to appear on an internet website
  • The significance of copyright laws
  • The consequences of cyber-plagiarism and theft of audio-visual works, including motion pictures, software, and sound recordings, through uploading and downloading files on the internet

 

The Student Code of Conduct

As stated in the Student Code of Conduct, each independent school district in Texas is required to have a local policy that:

  • Prohibits bullying, harassment and making hit lists, and ensures that district employees enforce those prohibitions
  • Provides, as appropriate for students at each grade level, methods, including options, for
    • Managing students in the classroom and on school grounds
    • Disciplining students
    • Preventing and intervening in student discipline problems, including bullying harassment and making hit lists

 

adopting a monitored approach

School districts must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act if they want to qualify for federal e-RATE funding for technology. The act states that protection measures must include blocking or filtering obscene, illegal and harmful content. While it is important to block inappropriate content in a school learning environment, the benefits of a complementary monitoring approach alongside blocking should also be considered.

And this is where monitoring software steps in. In addition to blocks and filters, which prevent access to indecent content, a comprehensive view of all student screens enables instructors to manage online behaviour in real time. Advanced monitoring software will also allow specific websites to be blocked or allowed when required, so students can be provided with access to websites, such as YouTube (which can be great for educational purposes), in a controlled environment.

 

Monitoring is also important when it comes to educating young people about digital citizenship. Learning how to navigate the web safely is only possible if students are afforded access to the online world and the opportunity to assess risk for themselves.

 

Find out more about our education monitoring software and comprehensive Internet safety feature. 

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