Case Study – Monitoring Computer Use in a High School for Pornography, Bullying and Racism

During the school year 2003 to 2004, a case study was conducted in a high school to determine (a) what problem existed on the use of school computers and (b) solutions to the problem ایران آموزشگاه بانک اطلاعات مراکز آموزشی.

The school suspected that extensive computer misuse was taking place by a large number of their students, approximately 1600 students sharing 480 computers, but could neither prove, nor quantify, their suspicions. Detection and analytical software was installed to determine the range and extent of this misuse. The analytical element of software was configured and installed in order to:

Within minutes of the first day of implementing the test, a violation icon was flashing. The test was conducted in stealth mode to prevent the users of the computers knowing that their activity was monitored. By the end of that day, more than 2000 violations had been detected.

The volume of violations kept growing; to the staggering number of over 20,000 in two weeks. Consider that these violations occurred on only 480 computers within a school of 1600 students. The violations averaged GREATER than one violation per student per day. The school administrators were not prepared for this level of misuse of the school computers.

The school administration established an Acceptable Use Policy to govern the use of the school computers. At the end of the two week trial period they decided to publish and make known to all students and staff that the school’s Acceptable Use Policy was being enforced.

At log-on, and in order to continue, every user had to confirm agreement to work within the school’s Acceptable Use Policy. To allow the education of the students to continue, it was decided to show and discuss with offenders proof of their violations, rather than to take immediate disciplinary action.

The software was directed to operate in active mode which prompted the software to immediately notify the user of violations and disrupt the chat room, instant messaging, email or other application that the violation occurred in. Initially students challenged the Policy and continued with their activity.

However, when computers were immediately shut down when a violation occurred and students were confronted on the spot by school administrators, compliance occurred rapidly. The direct consequence of this approach was a noticeable drop in violations.

This test and analysis was able to identify the range and extent of the problem. Alone, it provided a broad brush method of supporting the school Acceptable Use Policy and went some way towards eliminating the misuse of computers in the school. The analytical software identified the problem and provided part of the solution. The response and enforcement element of the software provided the rest

Effective monitoring software provides the flexibility to configure different modes of operation, such as the ability to give warnings to the user, or to close the down the application in use. It allows varying modes of operation to be applied to different individuals and groups. It allows individual settings to be made for Internet access. It allows the building of individual user profiles.

In this instance, the school asked every student and their parent/guardian to sign a new Acceptable Use Policy, which included the use software to monitor for violations. Users were warned on screen when a violation had taken place and informed that a screen capture of the violation had been stored on the server. If a user continued to misuse the computer system, services for that user were suspended.

This decision was not taken by the software, but by a senior member of staff. In order to regain access, the user had to approach this person to explain why they had misused the computer. Imagine the surprise and embarrassment to a student to be confronted with a screen shot of their activity on the computer and have to explain it.

After the school instituted an Acceptable Use Policy and configured effective monitoring software to active mode, the school experienced a significant change in the usage behaviour: Imagine this, the students started using the computers for their school work rather than unacceptable activity and as a result their grades went up.

The flexibility of operation and the information provided by effective monitoring software enables the school staff to use their professional judgment in dealing with violations of the Acceptable Use Policy. Screen warnings remind students about the need to use the computer in an acceptable manner.

Internal monitoring at the school has concluded that students’ better use of computers has made a significant contribution to improving academic standards and that project had exceeded the school’s objectives in full.

Case Study – Monitoring Computer Use in a High School for Pornography, Bullying and Racism

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