OLPC Oceania/Internet Safety programs

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Cyber Safety and OLPC

OLPC Oceania has adopted a policy of running a Cyber Safety campaign in association with any large scale rollout of laptops. The pilot project will be run in Niue, in association with the New Zealand based Net Safe organisation. For more information on Net Safe, see: - http://www.netsafe.org.nz/

This pilot is being scoped and applications made for funding in October 2008. Progress will be posted to this site


A sustainable cybersafety programme has four elements. Technology, Policy, Education, and support.

• Technology: Firstly, we need to consider content filtering. Yes it has limitations – but it can protect the younger users from exposure to harmful content. Also, many new users of technology will fall for basic email scams - so it is worth employing content and SPAM filters. The other aspect of technology is the security side. Material on Anti Virus and malware will be included; however, how susceptible are OLPC laptops to malware? Do they have security software built in? Is there free security software that will protect them? The program will cover these issues and also maintaining security on computers and keeping them free of malware.

• Policy/regulation: This is an interesting challenge. The work that has gone into updating NZ laws to consider the impact of technology is incredible. Many smaller pacific nations might not have the appropriate legal capacity and infrastructure for a digital age. The project will provide a summary document that outlines all the areas technology challenges the legal system – so that they can review their own laws.

• Education: The program will consider the formal and informal aspects of education on Cyber safety consider here. The formal education should be delivered through structured education channels (schools etc) and the informal education through the media, presentations to parent groups etc. The formal material will be structured around the “Cybercitizenship pathway”. There will be lessons designed to engage young people to develop their own understanding of the environment – rather than project ours onto them. The aim is that they will come to a similar conclusion to us – but the learning is much more powerful. All this material will be available on the web – so it will be available to anybody. Some localisation to fit local issues and cultures will be possible. There will be training for the people who are going to deliver it to ensure it was fully understood and delivered as well as possible.

• Support: When issues arise, who do the users (often young children) turn to for advice, assistance, and support? In NZ this is NetSafe, but who do you call if you’ve been scammed, cyberbullied etc in each of the pacific nations? That needs to be identified in each country– systems set up and promoted to the population. The program will assist the development of appropriate support systems.

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