Educators NZ - Kiwi students using school computers to access porn

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Kiwi students using school computers to access porn

New Zealand students are accessing ‘inappropriate content’, namely pornography, on school computers more than ever before, according to a local computer forensics authority.

Brian Eardley-Wilmot, Computer Forensics NZ managing director, says his company is being called in more often these days to investigate schools’ computers and report to school authorities.

“The amount of inappropriate computer use definitely seems to be increasing. Most of what we see is adult porn.

“Fortunately, we’ve only once come across objectionable material such as child abuse pornography.

“After consultation with the school, we advised the Department of internal Affairs who seized the computer and dealt with it appropriately,” he says.

Eardley-Wilmot says his concern is that three things are coming together to make such abuse more possible: ever-increasing internet use; people becoming more technically savvy when it comes to getting around computer system blocks, and the ‘normalisation’ of pornography.

“Some people, including teachers and students, seem to be becoming desensitised to pornographic material. They seem to think it is normal to view it in an everyday fashion,” he says.

Jenny Munro, an Otago Youth Wellness Trust senior practitioner, wrote in a recent Otage Daily Times story that young people faced a “smorgasbord of sexualised social media content" everyday.

The story also said 42% of male university students surveyed regularly viewed porn. It noted that some participants were studying to become teachers and some already were.

Given this new climate, in which “pornography is regarded as normal”, Eardley-Wilmot says schools need to take action to ensure porn isn't accessed on school computers.

He says schools should ask the Education Department for a blacklist of porn sites they can use in their blocking procedures.

Furthermore, schools should seek technical advice from the ministry as to how to lock down their school’s server to make it difficult to bypass controls, and could also have an alarm procedure when such attempts are made.

According to Eardley-Wilmot, companies such as Netsafe have further advice on their websites. For instance, Netsafe has a page about helping children who are upset by exposure to porn.

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