In Mullingar Community College we wholeheartedly embrace all modern technology for the wonderful tool that it is and can play within an educational setting. It has many wonderful educational applications. We make sure that your policy documents are relevant, circulated to the school community and are regularly updated. We also encourage students to come forward and report problems. Where there are breaches of policy they are dealt with both sensitivity and efficiency.
However, the technology also provides us with many challenges as parents / guardians and educators. It’s capacity to allow online access for children, and I include our own students in that category, without any supervision, to wander in any direction their curiosity might take them. Unsupervised access most definitely challenges their safety and their wellbeing, undermines positive peer relationships and used incorrectly undermines teaching and learning in the classroom. Many of these problems are caused by unsupervised access and are at times can be placed into the hands of the school. It is then often accompanied by the unrealistic expectation, that the school can ‘solve’ the problem on their own.
While we most certainly will play our part I want to draw your attention to a very useful Irish website http://cybersafeireland.org/ .It offers some assistance to empower us to navigate the online world with more safety and encourages us to take more personal responsibility. The site encourages us to have conversations with our children about their online activity. They have good ideas about conversation starters that you can have with your child. I would ask you to take sometime over midterm to go onto the website. I have found it useful.
Padraic O Dowd, Principal