School districts across the province are taking different approaches to when and how students access internet services. File photo

South Okanagan students can still access social media

Local school districts have different approaches to student internet access

High school students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows may have found themselves cut off from social media when they returned to class this month, but the Okanagan Skaha School District has a different approach.

Related: B.C. school district blocks access to social media in the classroom

“We’ve mostly focused our energies on educating kids on how to use the Internet responsibly,” said superintendent Wendy Hyer. “I haven’t really heard from teachers about it being an issue.”

Linda van Alphen, chair of the Okanagan Skaha School Board, said student use of the Internet hasn’t come up as an overall issue.

“We’ve had moments where kids have accessed the wrong sites. But they are just moments we have been made aware of, and that is over years,” said van Alphen. “I can’t see that it is a huge problem. We sort of rely on our teachers to monitor it.

“We wanted to invite kids in to use it (the internet) more but to use it in a responsible way. Our policy is quite detailed in what it says,” said Van Alphen.

In the Okanagan Similkameen School District, board chair Bev Young said the question of internet access is handled on a school-by-school basis, and two schools have experimented with controlled access.

“We don’t ban it completely, they have configured their wireless network around opening it up during breaks and before and after school, but having it closed during class time,” said Young. In the case of South Okanagan Secondary School, she added, the move came as a result of a student forum.

“They were talking about things that are enhancing learning. Kids were admitting they were having difficulty self-regulating,” said Young. “In the end, there are a lot of workarounds if kids really want to.”

Hyer said the only time internet use becomes an issue for administrators is when it comes to cyberbullying, and keeping an open system has proved to be an aid in that case.

“Kids are pretty good when they see a Snapchat or something where they see a student threatening another student,” said Hyer. “There is usually a few students that come forward to let administrators know. It has resulted in a little more work for administrators, but not in a bad way.”

You can have a closed system, she explains, where kids aren’t comfortable telling adults about anything they see or you can have an open system where students are comfortable with active participation.

“They know that if they report, it’s all around student safety, it’s about getting support for kids,” said Hyer. “It’s not meant as a way of getting kids in trouble. It’s a way of making sure nothing bad happens.“

Technology is here to stay, Hyer said, and there is a push for being able to bring your own device to school and being able to use it to look up knowledge.

“Knowledge is at your fingertips,” said Hyer. “The focus now is how to use that knowledge in a responsible way. All of those skills you need to be a wise consumer and a critical thinker.”

Just Posted

Northern Silica promises residents new haul road

Hartley Road residents gathered on Feb. 6 to discuss promises from the… Continue reading

Short term rentals have an impact on long term housing across the world

A community survey and four focus groups have highlighted what the community… Continue reading

Rockets unable to win against Dynamiters, Izzy Palumbo takes net in second period

The Golden Rockets were unable to beat out the Kimberly Dynamiters on… Continue reading

Council comes up with a plan to allow food trucks

Food trucks have been a staple in communities for a long time.… Continue reading

Beaver Scouts visit fire hall to learn teamwork and earn hero badges

The Golden Beavers attended a training session with the Golden Fire Department… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Port of Vancouver program examines impact of marine noise on local whales

Man-made noises can interfere with orcas’ ability to hunt and communicate with other pod members

Patrick Brown enters Ontario Tory leadership race

Despite sexual misconduct allegations Brown believes he is the right choice for the PC party

Most Read