Parent Advice

Below is the presentation that was used at the October 2016 Year 7 Laptop Distribution:

Below is the presentation that was used at the December 2015 Cyber Safety Evening:

We highly recommend the Parents' guide to FacebookCommonsense Media and the Commonsense Media Blog for advice for families, CEOP's Parents and carers guide to the internet, and Microsoft's Get Game Smart.

View our Responsible Use Policy applicable to all students and staff.

The page below has information for parents who wish to:

Please be aware that no system is foolproof, and we believe the best course of action is for parents to have open constructive dialog and be involved in the use of laptops, phones, tablets and game consoles, setting guidelines about their use in the home, and educating students in safe, appropriate and legal behaviour.

In the same way that we cannot control everything students read and talk about, we cannot control everything they see and do electronically. Students can access the internet via our school network, home networks, their friends networks, via mobile phones and 3G dongles. Students can share material via USB flashdrives, email, bluetooth and phones. The best way to help students behave appropriately is to provide guidance and education, and for them to do these things in social areas with friends and adults around.

Not in bedrooms. Isolated and with a reduced sense of accountability, students can make poor choices. Computers, phones, tablets and game consoles should be used in the living room and social spaces. Students should expect questions like "what are you doing?", and "show me what that screen is", and should accept directions like "turn facebook off until you have finished your homework!".

Some articles we think are useful about families and media use:

Checking how a laptop is being used

This section covers checking what is currently running, and inspecting the web browsing history.
Look in 3 places to see applications that are currently running
  1. The task bar (usually at the foot of the screen ) shows programs that are running

    If the taskbar is hidden, students should expect parents and teachers to ask to see it.

  2. Browsers may have many tabs open. Each tab represents a different webpage or website. Tabs are usually located at the top of the browser.
    Note that it is common to leave tabs open for days at a time. Just because Facebook is open in a tab, doesn't prove that it is being used.

  3. The system tray (usually bottom right corner of the screen) shows programs that are running in the background. Click the small triangle to view the full list.

    Hovering the mouse over each icon will reveal the name of it. Often a right click will give you an option to find out more about it.

    Look out for bittorrent clients (see the green circle in the middle of the second row in the image for an example) - these are used almost exclusively to download pirated material. We strongly discourage the use of this software.

Checking Browser history
Students should expect their parents to check the history of visited websites. This is a way they can reassure parents that they are getting on with their work and using their laptops appropriately. Students will use at least two browsers, and could install more. Browsers can be used in "Stealth" or "incognito" mode which means they leave no trace of the sites that have been visited. So internet filtering is still important, and there is no substitute for using laptops in a social area.
  1. Firefox: We recommend that students use the Firefox browser for personal browsing
    Press "Alt" to make the top menu appear.
    • Show All History will allow you to look at all sites visited since the last time the History was deleted. There is no reason to clear/delete the History, so if this has been done, you need to talk about it.
    • Recently Closed Tabs is handy if you suspect that Facebook (for example) is being closed every time you walk past
    • Recently Closed Windows is similar to Tabs, - might be worth checking as well.
    • To see the history of downloaded files, go to Tools > Downloads

  2. Chrome: We recommend students use Chrome for school work, email etc.
    Access the menu below by clicking on the Spanner icon (usually top right corner)

    The History will show you a list of visited websites organised by date and time. If this list is empty, or only covers a day or two, then you need to talk.
    The Downloads link will show a list of all files downloaded by this browser.

Add Internet filtering to your home network - for Free

Recommended. Adding filtering to your network, helps safeguard all computers, tablets, game consoles and devices in your house. Like our school network, it is not a 100% guarantee of safety, no method is foolproof, and students can still use cellular data. We can't offer technical support, but we recommend you involve your child in setting this up and searching for help if necessary.

If you have your own wireless router, then we recommend the free OpenDNS FamilyShield - it's simple to set up, no fuss, and in our testing, very effective.
Once it is set up, your laptop/computers will get the new settings, the next time they reconnect to your network - you can force this immediately by restarting them.

Add monitoring software to a laptop or home computer

We think this is quite a drastic step, and one that should be considered carefully. Installing monitoring or restrictive software on a laptop indicates that there is a lack of trust. We would like to be involved to see how we can help with monitoring, mentoring or target setting before software like this becomes necessary. However, it is important to know that it exists and can be used if required. In our experience, software like this can backfire since a student may spend their energy trying to circumvent the system rather than rectifying behavioural issues.

There are two levels

  1. Monitoring of activity so that parents can see a log of all websites, applications and communication that has taken place on a computer.
  2. Settings that restrict the activities that can take place, eg website blocking and time restrictions. Be aware that adding this could interfere with the use of the laptop in the classroom (eg unintentionally blocking a certain site or activity).
Software we have had recommended, have tested ourselves and is free for personal use is K9 Web protection.

Parents can sign up for a free license at the K9 website.

Feb 14, 2012, 4:35 PM
Aug 20, 2012, 1:37 AM