Netsafe resource for schools on responding to online incidents

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Netsafe has published a guide to help schools respond to online digital incidents, such as bullying, harassment, threats or other harmful behaviour.

The two-page quick reference guide, Responding to Online Digital Incidents Involving Students, is designed to help schools decide what steps to take and when to seek advice. It can also be used as a reference when updating response policies, guidelines and procedures.

The Netsafe website says: "Having a plan in place to manage digital incidents is vital, however developing proactive approaches across the school is equally as important when building a positive online culture and engagement with digital technology."

The website also says: "Knowing how to respond and what first steps to take is essential to reducing further harm and minimising distress."

The guide outlines the steps of understanding, assessing, resolving and finalising. This includes:

  • Gathering facts to determine what happened and who is involved
  • Supporting those involved
  • Recording details
  • Determining the nature and legal issues
  • The Must Do’s, and the Don’ts
  • Contacting those who need to know and organisations who can support and advise

The reference guide and Netsafe webpage list a number of related resources to help schools plan, respond and manage online incidents.

Schools can also contact Netsafe for advice on 0508 NETSAFE or queries@netsafe.org.nz, or the Education team education@netsafe.org.nz.

More information

For more information about Netsafe and the Harmful Digital Communications Act see the previous NZFVC story, NetSafe appointed as key agency for online harassment; information and support for victims.

Earlier this year, Netsafe launched an online Safety Partnership Grant programme. Netsafe awarded eight grants from the first round of funding. This includes a project by from the University of Auckland to develop a resource to support boys and young men to promote ethical behaviour around intimate digital images and gender equality. Another project by Antworks Studios will produce three documentary short films to tell stories about Cyberbullying, Internet safety and Revenge Porn.

Also see the NZFVC story Children's Day 2017 - Tools for preventing school, dating and youth violence for links to international resources.

Schools' responses to incidents

There have been ongoing media reports of sexually abusive behaviour by school aged young men in the last few years, continuing since the "Roastbusters" cases came to light in 2013.

Incidents in 2017 prompted high school students to march on Parliament calling for compulsory consent education in schools. The march was also attended by people from Rape Crisis, the Green Party and the Māori Party. The call has been supported by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations and Thursdays in Black and the National Council of Women.

Related media

Netsafe welcomes Twitter crackdown on sexual posts, Radio NZ, 20.10.2017

Facebook page linked to Wellington College students posts meme comparing feminist radio show to cancer, The Dominion Post, 19.10.2017