Internet safety

Internet safety is being aware of victimizing issues online such as being ripped off, disrespected, bullied, harrassed, scammed or stalked while online. We nurture a safe digital learning environment in our schools. This means promoting the idea of digital citizenship, defined as being a responsible, safe and ethical user of digital and internet technologies.


Rules of the road​​​

Users of the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Internet Portal System, Internet services and digital devices must comply with:

  • Acceptable Use Guidelines: For employees, contracted workers, volunteers and all other non-student and non-parent users of HIDOE-owned or leased digital devices. [VIEW​]
  • Technology Acceptable Use Guidelines: For students and parents. [VIEW]

Internet access

Access to the Internet at Department schools and facilities is controlled through what's known as the Captive Portal — a cluster of Cisco Ironport appliances that are positioned at the perimeter of our Internet Portal System. The appliances are load balanced and are used to inspect all incoming and outgoing traffic to the Internet. The Captive Portal:

  • Enforces the Department's Terms Of Use and Acceptable Use Guidelines. Users will need to agree to the terms and policies before access is allowed. When accessing the Internet via a browser, a mandatory web page will pop up which users will need to read and agree to by clicking on the "accept button." Terms of Use are:
    1. Any confidential or personally identifiable information contained in HIDOE's information systems are protected by federal and state laws, including but not limited to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), and applicable HIDOE rules, regulations, policies, and/or procedures.
    2. Accessing or seeking to gain access to such information by employees, except in the course of fulfilling job responsibilities, is prohibited. Furthermore, disclosing, using and/or altering any such information without proper authorization is also prohibited.
    3. Failure to abide by the applicable laws, rules, regulations, polices, and procedures may result in disciplinary action and/or penalties in accordance with such laws, rules, regulations, polices, and procedures.
  • Performs web content filtering and monitoring for outgoing traffic. Using "reputation modeling," the Captive Portal can choke off delivery of content, such as incidents of violence that are going viral.
  • Inappropriate websites with content including pornography, gambling, hate crimes, drugs and others are blocked.
  • Provides protection from viruses/malware by inspecting incoming web traffic and filtering them out. Infected or compromised websites that are identified will get blacklisted and filtered.
  • Provides differentiated Internet access based on user identity. Adult DOE employees (i.e. admin/teacher/staff) who login and authenticate will be given access to websites normally blocked for students. 
    • ​To comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) ​we are required to filter student access to offensive/inappropriate content over the Internet on school and library computers. Unfortunately, many social networking sites contain explicit and inappropriate content that need to be filtered for students, even though these sites also contain legitimate educational content. 
    • Adult employees have the ability to access these restricted sites and access data such as the President's or Congressional members' speeches on Facebook, YouTube and other such sites that can be used in their curriculum or for research. Instructions for adults on how to circumvent student access blocks can be found on the DOE Intranet​ (login required).
  • Allows the Department to treat users who don't login and authenticate as guests. Students are currently considered guests — guest access filtered to comply with CIPA. Once we have a statewide student login database (future capability), we will be able to provide age-appropriate access.
  • Monitoring and logging. There should be no expectation of privacy. School computers, Internet Portal System and user accounts are the property of the Department and subject to monitoring similar to school lockers. All user Internet activities will be monitored and logged by login identity or IP addresses. These logs can and will be used in any disciplinary actions as required for inappropriate use.
  • Allows the Department to provide training and tips for cybersafety.

What are we protecting students from online?

Online sexual predators
An online sexual predator is an adult Internet user who uses the Internet to meet and seduce vulnerable children and underage teenagers into sexual encounters. In a recent study by the University of Hawaii, it was found that online sexual predators is the top concern of students, parents and teachers. A national study of 1,501 students found that 19.0% of them had been sexually solicited online. Overall, sexual encounters with minors fall under child pornography, a felony. Social networking sites are where predators lurk most often. See the online safety tips from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.

Cyberbullying is the the continuous and deliberate act of harassment, embarrassment, or intimidation via digital communication device. Merriam-Webster defines it as the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously. Pseudonimity, which is the use of a pseudonym for anonymity, seems to encourage hurtful behaviors that would otherwise not be done face to face. As of 2012, Hawaii is only one of four states without a specific cyberbullying law. However, we do have laws against cyberharassment. In addition, cyberbullying is not tolerated in schools and warrants disciplinary action as described in Chapter 19. National cyberbullying laws are available at the National Conference of State Legislatures webpage.

Cyberstalking is the obsessive pursuit of someone using digital means. There is usually a pattern of malicious or threatening behavior that results in the victim feeling credible fear and harm. Reporting cyberstalking immediately is the best way to deal with cyberstalking. National cyberstalking and cyberharassment laws are available at the National Conference of State Legislatures webpage.

Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit images​ via SMS message or other means via mobile phone, computer or any other device capable of electronic data transmission or distribution. It is against the law to sext in the state of Hawaii (§712-1215.6). Adults who sext with minors falls under child pornography, and is a felony. Minors who sext with other minors commit the offense of promoting minor-produced sexual images in the second degree, a petty misdemeanor. In a local study here, it was found that about 5 percent of 492 students surveyed had sent a sext.

Identity theft/fraud
Identify theft is the illegal use of someone else's personal information (as a Social Security number) in order to obtain money or credit as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary. Being vigilant about personal information is the best way to protect against becoming a victim. The newest forms are "smishing" and "vishing" where scammers will text or voicemall call you to try to get personal information. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a strong informational webpage about internet fraud protection.

Use and stealing of copyright content
Violating copyright is using someone else's creative works without giving them proper credit. The spirit of copyright is to balance the benefits of the author with the benefits to society. Teachers and students should be aware of fair use guidelines and digital millenium copyright act. Once someone puts something into a fixed medium, it is technically copyrighted. However, registering a claim on that copyright starts at $35. A recommended resource is the Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright" lessons from the Library of Congress.

Of additional concern is the use of peer-to-peer sites where mostly music and videos are shared. Sometimes, the sharing is illegal. Worse is that child pornography, violent images and viruses are found on files shared via these sites.

Awareness of viruses/malware/hacker attacks and rogue apps
Criminals no longer need to physically break into your windows and doors to steal from you. They can break into your accounts to steal key holdings and possessions by hacking and using malicious code. Being aware of the sender and the source of downloaded files is critical to being safe online. Everyone should exercise vigilance about resources and opening random files. The FBI officially calls these "computer intrusions" and considers it a key area of their cyber crimes work. Check out their E-Scams and Warnings page to keep up to date.

Digital Citizenship

More and more, our lives are becoming digitized. Students need to understand digital environments, and the broad-based impacts their behavior in these environments have. Families are engaged partners in cultivating responsibility. Namely:

  • The digital posts of today can be referenced tomorrow. What you say or do can be captured and last indefinitely.
  • Colleges, employers and the community routinely reference digital profiles. What do you want the world to know about you?
  • Being irresponsible with digital profiles and personal information can lead to identity theft.
  • As with bullying, cyberbullying is punishable under Chapter 19, which governs student misconduct and discipline. Learn more.
  • Theft of intellectual property for school assignments or other uses is punishable under Chapter 19. Learn more.

Parents and families, in particular, have a crucial role to play in helping their children to become responsible digital citizens, and to train them to be ready for a digital world. This includes understanding social media, cyberbullying, privacy and internet safety, and more. Common Sense Media offers an excellent online education center for parent concerns that all families should review.

Also, this family contract features a "Kids' Pledge" that provides a valuable conversation starter and structure for defining digital rules in households.

​Futu​re Ready Learning​Teaching and learning extends beyond the four walls of a classroom and the confines of a bell schedule. Digital and blended learning not only make that possible, they make it dynamic and engaging. Learn about our Future Ready Plan to scale 1:1 learning across the state.

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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