Common sense rules for technology in schools
- Treat others well.
It hurts to get a mean email just like it hurts when someone is mean in the school hallway. When using email or making a post on a forum or web page, be kind. Everyone will see what you write so think before you type. Be careful with what you say about others and yourself.
- Respect privacy and the feelings of others.
First, you should know that your school owns the computers and the email systems you are using. Teachers and school administrators can look at your email at any time. Don't use school computers for messages you don't want others to see. If someone sends you an personal email don't forward it to others. That's like talking about someone behind his/her back. Don't use email as a tool for gossip. If you would not say something to someone's face, don't say it in email either.
- Be nice to your computer.
Computers can do lots of work but they are connected to each other over networks that can become jammed with traffic. Don't clog up the network with large files in email messages. Email is for words. Web sites are for files. It's OK to send small files via email but find another way to send anything over one or two megabytes (2mb).
- Keep your space clean.
Delete old files and old emails if you don't need them. Make folders to keep important messages and files you want to save. Too many users with too many old files can slow down computer systems and make it hard to find things.
- Don't get scammed.
The world is full of people trying to separate you from your money. If something seems too good to be true, it's not true. Crooks are pretty good at fooling people. Don't fall for their tricks.Tricking people with fake emails and web pages that look real is called phishing. Don't trust links or web pages sent by email. Instead, open a new browser window and type in the address yourself.
- Don't get attacked.
Never open an attachment to an email if it ends in exe, pif, bat, com, inf, reg, scr, sct, vb, vbe or vbs. Most viruses come from friends. Their computers are attacked and are forced to send emails to everyone in their email lists. Just because an email comes from a friend does not mean it's virus free. You should be using current anti-virus software on your computer at home to help avoid viruses.
- Don't get spammed.
Spam is unwanted advertising sent by email. Never reply to spam and never do business with a company that sends spam. Use the "report spam" button to get rid of spam. Don't post your email address on web pages. This is how spammers get your address in the first place.
- Don't talk to strangers.
Be wary of strangers. NEVER give out personal information about yourself like where you live, your phone number, age or where you are going to strangers. Meeting someone online does not make them your friend. Unless you are introduced by a teacher or parent, anyone you meet online is a stranger. I'll be very clear about this; there ARE bad people out there who want to hurt you. Don't give them the chance by giving out personal information. If you are in doubt, ask a teacher or parent for help. If you follow these safety rules, you have nothing to fear.
- All of the rules above apply.
- A web forum is a public place. Be careful what you put there.
- You represent your family, your school and your community in everything you publish.
Web pages and web forums are more public than email because they are viewed by more people. Give thought to what you publish, both in terms of content and simple things like spelling.
- If it's rude, crude, lewd, nude or socially unacceptable, just don't publish it.
- You have First Amendment rights to free speech.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment 1)
- Your rights can be limited in school though. If you post something via email or on a school web page that disturbs the learning environment in your school, your right of speech may be limited. School web sites and forums are for educational use and are not considered public forums for debating ideas. This means that a school has the right to limit student speech that disturbs the learning process in these areas.
- You do have substantial freedom of speech when you publish materials on a non-school web site. For more information on your First Amendment rights see: http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/faq-students.php and http://www.hb-rights.org/2speech/