Access to IT Policy for Under 18s

Introduction

 

The University of Suffolk hosts a variety of conferences and activities on-campus for young people under the age of 18, including events for student recruitment, widening participation, and community engagement. Some of these activities require the use of IT facilities, and it is essential that IT-users who are under the age of 18 are accessing material appropriate to their age while on-campus.  As a Higher Education Institution, IT-users have unrestricted access to the internet to allow for rigorous academic research. Students within a school or college are likely to have restricted access to information on-line, and the University's policy aims to allow safe access to academic information on-line while on-campus.

Aims of the University IT Policy

The University of Suffolk is committed to working with the local community, and supporting opportunities for young people to fully participate in activities on-campus to encourage academic development, raise aspirations, and develop understanding of higher education. The IT policy is therefore based on appropriate supervision of students who are under the age of 18, while using IT facilities.

Scope of the Policy

This policy is intended to cover all on-campus events involving participants who are under the age of 18 years. The policy relates to activities where participants have unrestricted access to potential information on-line that may be inappropriate or unsuitable for them.  If an outside organisation is booking and paying for space on campus for an event, the organiser of the event should be aware that there are no restrictions to internet access with the recommendation of following this policy for participants under the age of 18 years.

Definition

For the purpose of this policy, ‘participants’ refers to people attending on-campus events using IT facilities, who are under the age of 18. This policy should also be adopted for participants who are vulnerable adults.  For the purpose of this policy, ‘supervisory staff’ can include:

  • University staff,
  • School/College staff who are accompanying the group,
  • University Student Ambassadors
  • Trained University students.

IT Policy

  • All participants working with IT facilities on-campus, should be accompanied by at least 1 member of University staff. If more than one room is being used, there should be 1 member of staff in each room.
  • Participants should be accompanied by at least 1 member of staff from school or college.
  • The following supervisory ratios should be adopted:

Participants aged 16-17: 1 member of supervisory staff for every 8 participants

Participants aged 12-15: 1 member of supervisory staff for every 5 participants

Participants aged 11 and under: 1 member of supervisory staff for every 4 participants

  • Where participants are working on large banks of desks and computers, the number of supervisors should be increased as appropriate to ensure that there is one member of supervisory staff for each bank of desks.
  • If a participant accesses inappropriate material wilfully or accidentally, the school/college should be informed.

Expected Standard of Behaviour

Before starting work, all participants should be advised of the following standard of behaviour:

  • All participants should research only the information required, without purposefully visiting other websites not related to the activity. The school/college will be informed if participants are seen to access any inappropriate information.
  • Participants should advise a member of supervisory staff if they view any information or images that make them feel uncomfortable.
  • All computer monitors should be visible to a member of supervisory staff.
  • Information should only be printed if authorised by a member of supervisory staff.

Child Protection

If any student accesses information on-line that makes them uncomfortable or that causes them to disclose information of a sensitive nature, the member of staff responsible for the group should be informed. The  Designated Safeguarding Officer for the University of Suffolk (the Academic Registrar) should also be informed.

Conclusion

The IT Policy for on-campus activities where participants are under the age of 18, is an internal policy to support positive experiences for visiting students. This policy should not replace risk assessments for each activity.

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