In the past, student user agreements detailed prohibited behaviours and activities. Now the focus has moved to preparation and participation, encouraging both responsibility and accountability.
Any agreement around the responsible and safe use of online spaces and digital devices needs to be carefully unpacked with students. Even better, co-constructing agreements with students with clear links to school values often leads to greater buy-in, visibility and clarity around what appropriate and safe use looks like. Netsafe’s DIY Guide supports schools to work with students to build their own agreements, while the standard templates give schools something to adapt and customise.
Netsafe’s standard user agreements have been designed to promote a culture of online safety and can support discipline processes if necessary. To maximise their value, it is recommended that the student user agreement is further developed in conjunction with students and where possible families and whānau.
As many students have needed to be agile in the way they work from home, we have also included agreements specific to these settings. A Home User Agreement can help support your students and their whānau to understand the expectations while learning from home and help keep their students safe online. Some schools may also be in a position to loan out school-owned devices to support learning from home. The Device Sign-Out Agreement may also help to facilitate this.
Student and parent/whānau signatures are not required for the user agreement to support any discipline processes. However, the school or kura must be confident that all students have been made aware of the responsibilities and expectations and what each means in practice.
The student user agreement should not be used as a ‘set and forget’ safety tool. Schools are encouraged to promote and reinforce responsibilities and expectations through regular student and community communications.