Saturday, 12 December 2009

The internet in school

Oh dear.

The front page of today's EDP screams something about kiddies in Norfolk schools getting access to, well, dodgy content (I don't want this blog filtered by using the obvious words, so it will remain DC and we'll all understand what I mean).

Here's what it says in the lead paragraph:
Norfolk children have been exposed to... [Dodgy Content] ...while using school computers, with education chiefs admitting last night they have no “100pc safeguard”
Shock! Horror!

Well, that would be my interpretation of the lead. I'd be thinking "Oh noes, there is DC rife throughout the schools and the council isn't doing anything about it".

And I'd be wrong - and the EDP should, in my opinion, be ashamed of it's front page today.

You see, reading the article further turns up that:
  • there are 180,000 school children in Norfolk schools
  • there are 450 schools in Norfolk
  • there were, over the last two years, 25 incidents of children accessing Dodgy Content
Hang on, let's think about that. 25 incidents? 25 in two years? By 180,000 children?

The EDP has it wrong. Norfolk County Council is clearly doing a splendid job at stopping it's school kids accessing DC. Let's face it - how many of those children do you think access the odd bit of DC at home? Or on their phones? Or hear the odd DC phrase (because that's included in those 25 incidents - not just images, but words as well).

But, oh no, the EDP assures us that
parents will be concerned by evidence that even schools are not 100pc reliable in protecting their children against [DC].
No! Parents should be applauding Norfolk County Council for restricting this to 25 incidents. And, to be honest, anyone who doesn't appreciate that hasn't got the faintest clue how the internet works, let alone how it's used by teenagers.

Yes, it's worrying that 18 of the 25 incidents were in primary schools. But overall I'm with this view:
With so many new sites constantly being created, no internet security system can provide a 100pc safeguard, but our systems our in place to spot and act upon inappropriate site and 25 instances in two years, given the 30,000 computers being used daily in schools, shows that in the large majority of cases the system works robustly
Exactly. Demonstrating, yet again, that journalists know little about schools and usually less about the interwebz...

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