E-safety when using blogs
E-safety is a topic of common concern with children using the internet. In this part of the course you will think about how a blog can be used safely and ethically. You will identify e-safety issues related to the use of blogs in schools and share your thoughts with others. You will have an opportunity to reflect on the responsibilities of authors and how to ethically use content developed by others.
Activity 3 Blogs and e-safety
The objective of this course activity is to begin to understand some of the options you have to ensure safe and ethical use of a blog.
Visit and read the links to resources provided below and share your thoughts on the course forum.
Read Byron Sets Boundaries [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , a Guardian article by Julie Nightingale (2008). This report commissioned by the government talks about tackling internet and gaming safety for children and young people. It has implications for all UK schools. The report recommends that Ofstead makes e-safety a separate criterion.
Now look at the e-safety section on the Becta site. What would you do as a teacher to enhance the safe and ethical use of blogs in your classroom? Share your thoughts on the course forum. Some safety tips are listed below.
Safety tips for students and teachers when using blogs (adapted from Next Generation Learning’s Safeguarding section (2010b)):
- are responsible for anything that they post
- should not include personal information about themselves (including photos and videos), other pupils, staff or family members that can allow someone to be identified or located geographically
- should always use appropriate language and respect other peoples' opinions when writing or responding to a post
- should check with others before posting videos or photos of other students or staff
- need to know what to do if they are being bullied online. Who do they need to inform at your school? Where can they go online for help?
- should be clear as to the purpose of their blog, and the intended audience
- consider what password restrictions are needed – there is usually an option to password protect a blog so that access is restricted to specified users
- consider whether you want to allow comments to posts and if you want to moderate or approve comments before they are visible
- consider the use of anti-spam tools if they are available in the blogging software.
I gave the class a serious talking to about internet safety. One student then dryly queried if it was wrong of him to have posted his mothers ...details ...on a website and I realised that I was being a bit heavy handed, that they knew far more than I had been banking on and would be fine. They spontaneously used random images for profile pictures rather than real pics which is something I would ask a class to copy in the future
Want to find out more? (optional activities)
Acceptable Use Policy
If using a blog at school, it is a important that it is covered by the schools acceptable use policy (AUP). You might want to refer to your schools AUP. What does it say about the use of self-authoring tools such as blogs? Does it need to be amended in light of this activity? Who might you need to talk to at your school about this?
If your school doesn't have a relevant AUP you might want to inform the person responsible about this Becta (2009a) publication AUPs in Context: Establishing Safe and Responsible Online Behaviours. This resource provides a number of prompts and action points to help schools to develop effective AUPs.
e-Safety in your local area
Your local authority will include information about e-safety. Visit the National Education Network to see what is happening in your area.
Connecting with other e-safety educators
Safetynet is a community for anyone who wants to discuss and share information to support the development of e-safety good practice within the education sector.
Becta (2007) Signposts to safety. This booklet contains background information, advice and guidance for secondary teachers relating to e-safety issues. It signposts appropriate opportunities to embed e-safety within the curriculum and relevant resources.
Copyright and blogs