Blue Whale effect? CBSE issues guidelines to schools for safe internet usage

Schools have been advised to take measures to pre-empt any illegal activity through IT enabled devices in schools.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular to all schools asking them to install effective firewalls, filtering and monitoring software mechanisms in all the computers and regularly review filtering and blocking policies and procedures.

The decision was taken days after the government issued direction to internet majors to remove links of the deadly Blue Whale Challenge — an online game in which the final task requires the player to kill self.

The circular ‘Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of Internet and Digital Technologies in Schools and School Buses’ has been issued to all the 18,000 affiliated schools across the country.

“The potential of information technology as a valuable learning resource is immense. However, if children use the internet without safety awareness, they may fall prey to illegal activity or abuse such as cyber bullying, fraud or something even more serious. Hence, awareness of internet safety norms is absolutely indispensable to make children free to explore knowledge without feeling intimidated. Increasing proliferation and sophistication of various electronic devices makes it all the more obligatory for schools to control and monitor their use by students,” reads the circular issued by CBSE.

Schools have also been asked to draft a policy on the safe use of electronic devices and implement it.

According to a senior CBSE official, they have also annexed the components related to safe internet usage that are available on the information security education and awareness website that are readily applicable to schools. This includes tips to stay safe on social networking sites for students. “Government has already issued directions for removing links of the Blue whale game. Schools have been asked to keep an eye on any unsolicited content whether it is games, social media site or anything that can be detrimental to the student,” said a CBSE official.

The circular issued on Friday further states that schools need to promote a safe and secure educational environment for effective teaching and learning and to discourage students from actions detrimental to themselves, their peers and the value system.

Schools have been advised to take measures to pre-empt any illegal activity through IT enabled devices in schools. Authorities have been asked to educate students for the safe and effective use of the internet, make children aware of the rules and display them prominently.