laptops

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pinkhebe
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laptops

Post by pinkhebe » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:05 pm

I've just been looking a all the gumph that's been sent this week, and I was reading about the wireless network, and I read,

'I therefore urge you very strongly to encourage your child to bring his or her own device back to school to enable them to take the fullest possible advantage of the facilities we are developing'

Really? We are now expected to give our 11+ children a laptop to take to school? I can understand when they are older (maybe), but even if we could afford one, all my son would do is play minecraft on it at the moment.
Last edited by pinkhebe on Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Antinous1
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Re: laptops

Post by Antinous1 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:43 pm

Absolutely my thoughts too, pinkhebe! My child is older than yours and, even were it financially possible, I do not think they would make much sensible use of a laptop: they already seem to spend (waste!) a lot of time playing minecraft on those of other people!

Further more I have direct experience of the problems that poorly supervised internet access can cause amongst teenagers and in particular how very difficult it is to stop really unsuitable material from circulating! We are all regularly told that, as responsible parents, the safest way to arrange for children to have internet access is for the computer to be in family rooms, where adults are regularly passing and overlooking what is going on, and this suggestion from the school seems to me to be flying in the face of all that. I am uncomfortable enough with the widespread use of internet enabled smartphones at the school. As for laptops, I'd far rather that the school made sure that children below UF at least were using school computers in public rooms when they were felt to be necessary for work or research.

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Re: laptops

Post by Volupturaptor » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:00 am

I agree with all of the above, but also, what a huge change from all the advice we were given last year!! :shock:
No taking expensive gadgets, laptops absolutely not needed etc.
I'm quite disgusted actually, yet another thing to seperate the haves from the have nots.
£200 for clay pidgeon shooting?! :roll:

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Re: laptops

Post by ailurophile » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:20 pm

Further more I have direct experience of the problems that poorly supervised internet access can cause amongst teenagers and in particular how very difficult it is to stop really unsuitable material from circulating! We are all regularly told that, as responsible parents, the safest way to arrange for children to have internet access is for the computer to be in family rooms, where adults are regularly passing and overlooking what is going on, and this suggestion from the school seems to me to be flying in the face of all that. I am uncomfortable enough with the widespread use of internet enabled smartphones at the school. As for laptops, I'd far rather that the school made sure that children below UF at least were using school computers in public rooms when they were felt to be necessary for work or research.
Quite right Antinous. While I am sure that CH make every effort to block access to unapproved websites, it is easy for pupils to download unsuitable material onto their laptops at home which they can subsequently view (and share with others) at school. I imagine that this would be almost impossible to control and police.

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Re: laptops

Post by Antinous1 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:32 pm

ailurophile wrote:While I am sure that CH make every effort to block access to unapproved websites,
You'd hope so wouldn't you, ailurophile, but I'm really not at all sure this is the case. Unfortunately there are loopholes which they haven't even begun to appreciate. Like for instance the fact that some pupils with smartphones can (and do!) use them to provide wifi internet access for their own and other children's laptops .... this obviously allows them to access any site or material that they wish to entirely free of any blocks and monitoring that the school places on its own wifi. Or the fact that 3G iPads also allow unmonitored, unblocked internet access. What is the point of the school blocking Facebook on its own system if many of the children can use their own internet connection to access it anyway? The bottom line to this is that there is currently no difficulty for any child at the school to access and share extreme material. I know it's possible that any Old Blues reading this may have all kinds of stories of the occasional Playboy or Penthouse mag doing the rounds in dormitories when they were teenagers and everyone having a bit of a snigger and being none the worse for it on the whole, but this goes way beyond that! The material in question is of a really graphic nature and every evidence is that exposure to it (and that can include seeing it over a room mate's shoulder, not actually seeking it out themselves) can have very disturbing effects on children. I worry that the school has its head in the sand on this one (it wouldn't be alone in this mind you, very few schools are tackling the problem adequately). It's not just extreme material though, misuse of social networks is a big problem too and I would bet that if you care to wander round the web you will find that children at the school are posting messages in public view containing very unpleasant gossip, often of a very sexual nature, about fellow pupils (often using full names), and that times and dates would make it clear that many of these were posted while the children were at school. The school has a very firm written policy on bullying and that includes cyber-bullying, but I think this encouragement of laptops, iPads and smartphones fundamentally undermines that policy.

No laptops in dorms until at least UF would surely be the safest option? Personally I'd include smartphones in that too, but I can see that would be a very unpopular move!

All this is before I even get to the statement in the school letter that "pupil access via a machine to the network is a key component of the learning process and eventual academic success" (my underlining) What's that meant to mean? That if we can't afford for, or just don't want, our 11 year old to have a laptop at school we are damning them to academic failure??
Volupturaptor wrote: £200 for clay pidgeon shooting?! :roll:
I nearly fell off the chair when I read that letter! I'm sure it was nothing like that much a couple of years ago, and even then it seemed a lot of money.

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ailurophile
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Re: laptops

Post by ailurophile » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:11 am

Unfortunately there are loopholes which they haven't even begun to appreciate. Like for instance the fact that some pupils with smartphones can (and do!) use them to provide wifi internet access for their own and other children's laptops .... this obviously allows them to access any site or material that they wish to entirely free of any blocks and monitoring that the school places on its own wifi. Or the fact that 3G iPads also allow unmonitored, unblocked internet access. What is the point of the school blocking Facebook on its own system if many of the children can use their own internet connection to access it anyway? The bottom line to this is that there is currently no difficulty for any child at the school to access and share extreme material.
This is very alarming Antinous. I admit that I have no knowledge of the potential that comes with all this new technology - DH and I bought cheap pay as you go mobiles in about 1999, which we still use to... well, make occasional phone calls. My eldest DS (18) is constantly glued to his Blackberry phone, which he pays for out of his own earnings, and I just have to trust that he's not using it for unsuitable purposes. But I certainly wouldn't buy anything like that for my youngest at CH, even if we could afford to; again, he has a basic pay as you go mobile - and we only bought that so that we can contact him from time to time to check he's still alive (when away at school, he is not the most communicative of children!!).

You say
The material in question is of a really graphic nature and every evidence is that exposure to it (and that can include seeing it over a room mate's shoulder, not actually seeking it out themselves) can have very disturbing effects on children. I worry that the school has its head in the sand on this one.
Are there confirmed instances of this being a problem at CH? And if any parents have raised these concerns directly, how has the school responded? Ignorance is bliss, but I would certainly be worried if CH appeared to be deliberately ignoring these issues or adopting policies on use of PCs and mobile devices which might further enable the potential for such problems to develop.

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Re: laptops

Post by Atticus » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:03 pm

Oh, I can see I'm going against the popular opinion, but I see this as a fantastic step forward. My dd has been seriously hindered by a dodgy computer in the house homework room with poor printer connection and a faulty spellcheck/grammar check. Much of the children's research comes through the computer, and a good, fast, open to all and not just the older years, safe system is absolutely essential!

We are also very happy for her to have full school wifi access in her dorm room. We completely trust her in the material that she accesses, and in the safeguards that CH will have put in place. She has a smartphone, with full Internet access and Internet social networking, all of which is set up with our parental controls and can be fully viewed on the home computer if we want to. Some of what she has access to - bbm and texting we cannot see, but since a bad experience in February, we have educated ourselves and her on online safety. She has a sensible attitude online, using social media to connect with family during term time and school friends during the holidays. Yes, she plays games and listens to music/watches movies at school downloaded from home on her iPod, but this isn't at the expense of her school work.

CH will have put firm safeguards in place, and has a robust cyberbullying policy, but we also have to play our part in educating our children in what is and isn't acceptable to view, or say, on the Internet.

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Re: laptops

Post by YadaYada » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:26 pm

As a teacher of IT, in a secondary school, and a mum of a teenage boy I'd just like to counsel ALL parents that your children WILL access unsuitable material on the internet, if they can. Or at the very least they will see others accessing it.
I agree that we have to educate our own children but 'nice' kids also do naughty things online.

Certainly CH will have a robust blocking and filtering system in place and laptops on the school network are probably safe - it's smartphones where the problem can't be controlled

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Re: laptops

Post by Fairy » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:20 pm

I realise this is against popular opinion but I'm with Atticus on this one, I trust my DD to respect the trust I place in her.

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Re: laptops

Post by ailurophile » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:11 am

YadaYada wrote:
As a teacher of IT, in a secondary school, and a mum of a teenage boy I'd just like to counsel ALL parents that your children WILL access unsuitable material on the internet,
It's interesting that the posters on here who support the wider availability of wifi and implicitly trust their children not to misuse it are parents of girls. In your experience YadaYada, would you say that it is boys who are more likely to access unsuitable material?

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Re: laptops

Post by pinkhebe » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:23 pm

ailurophile wrote:YadaYada wrote:
As a teacher of IT, in a secondary school, and a mum of a teenage boy I'd just like to counsel ALL parents that your children WILL access unsuitable material on the internet,
It's interesting that the posters on here who support the wider availability of wifi and implicitly trust their children not to misuse it are parents of girls. In your experience YadaYada, would you say that it is boys who are more likely to access unsuitable material?
I'm not an IT teacher, but I was a teenage girl :D
If the internet had been around when I was a girl, I can guarantee that I would have looked up something like 'naked boys' 'sex positions' etc. As it was I had to make do with Just 17's problem page, and Mizz's Position of the week!

I wouldn't have gone looking for Porn per se, but I wanted to know things, before I had a boyfriend.

Sadly the internet is not quite a innocent as teen magazines/ your parents copy of 'the joy of sex'/Judy Blume's 'Forever', and you can come across some really horrible stuff without knowing what you're doing. It's also the easiest way of finding stuff out, which makes it a very tempting resource.

I'd hate for my son to think that some of the stuff on the internet is the way the majority conduct their sex lives.

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Re: laptops

Post by anniexf » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:03 pm

Excuse me for this brief intrusion : "in my day" (groan!) all we could do was look up rude words in the dictionary! Not that we knew many, of course.... The only other sources were the "top shelf" magazines that only dirty old men bought (according to my mother). I can imagine what my reaction would have been had I come across some of the internet stuff then - I'd have been shocked and terrified! These days, though, children are used to seeing sexual images selling everything from underpants to perfume so would they be less adversely affected by real porn? Wouldn't they laugh/snigger/ nudge their friends, have a giggle and then move on? I can't imagine any of the children described here becoming obsessed by it.

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Re: laptops

Post by YadaYada » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:38 pm

Well, as a parent of a teenage boy (and I don't want to embarrass him!), so will careful word my reply as to whether boys are more prone to mis-using the internet than girls.

I think boys are more open about the fact that they and their friends have viewed porn stuff. Girls don't admit to that stuff but they are more prone to mis-using the internet by posting inappropriate pictures of themselves and friends and posting messages that cause a lot of trouble.

I'm still shocked when I find out that a particular student has done x or y - we think we know them but teenagers are inquisitive creatures and the internet makes everything a whole lot easier.

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Re: laptops

Post by YadaYada » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:47 pm

I will also confess that DS went back to school last year with a second-hand netbook. I do believe that it has helped his studies as he often couldn't get on the house computers. Internet access has been a bit patchy although I noticed the letter said wi-fi access ws being improved.
Has he used it inappropriately this year? I don't know but do think the filtering at school will be good enough. I know that he can't even access videos on the BBC. Phones are more of an issue I think.
Has it helped his studies? Again, can't be 100% certain but I think so and he assures me it is the case.

Antinous1
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Re: laptops

Post by Antinous1 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:21 am

I'd hate to come across as a killjoy, scaremonger or luddite. I'm a real fan of the internet - I love its power and potential and I work with it daily including ways that smartphone/iPad type apps can be developed to support learning. I don't feel that the use of such things is 'key to academic success' (I think that good teaching and hard work is the key to that!), but I do think that they can be very useful in helping a child, for example, learn French vocab or revise science facts. I do rather object to the idea presented in the school's letter that parents who don't wish to or can't afford to provide their child with a laptop are somehow damaging their educational chances. If this were indeed the case then surely the best solution would be for the school to provide all pupils with a basic (cheap, no frills, no games) school-issue laptop which would ensure both that it was easier to prevent misuse of the system and that no child was left behind!

As far as wasting time playing games when they should be working: I know plenty of children who can behave sensibly and balance their time properly between homework/prep and game-playing without adult nagging, but also I refuse to believe that my child is the only one who at 11 or 12 was utterly incapable of doing so. Even now I am sometimes reduced to pulling the plug on computer in order to get anything remotely like work out of them.

My main point though was that, as things stand, the school cannot possibly ensure that laptops brought into school are only using the school wifi, with all its protections and monitoring, to connect to the internet and so it should not be encouraging younger pupils to have laptops in their bedrooms. This doesn't seem unreasonable or extreme to me, just a sensible precaution, which is backed up the advice given by many child protection organisations that children should use internet connected computers in family rooms not bedrooms. I know that the school is committed to protecting the children in its care and this would provide protection to children who, however 'good' they are, are not ready to police their own internet use.

The other day I sat on the bus behind a group of 1st or second year boys from a very popular and highly academic selective school and I am willing to bet that their parents have absolutely no idea that their children have access to, or even any knowledge of, the material these boys were discussing, which was clearly changing hands on memory sticks (so it only takes one child with easy access to it for it to spread). I'd agree with YadaYada that boys are more likely to be open about viewing porn and are probably more curious about it than girls, but on this issue it really doesn't matter whether you have sons or daughters - surely parents are just as keen that future boyfriends/partners of their daughters haven't had their heads filled early on with pornographic images as they are that their own sons haven't!

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