THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) on Sunday published a for students detailing guidelines. The protocol comes as per the recommendations in the 6th report of the committee for the welfare of women, transgenders, children and differently abled.

The guidelines carry specific instructions for head of institutions, teachers, parents and students to ensure cyber safety.

Some of the highlights of the protocol include: Secure password protection should be ensured by an institution head insisting on safe search methods, facilitating uninterrupted availability of internet to teachers and students, providing internet access to students only under the supervision of teachers, displaying instructions for secure internet browsing in classrooms and labs. It has been mandated to conduct cyber safety audit in across the state at least twice a year.

Teachers have been instructed to browse and download ICT (Information and Communication Technology) contents for their classes well in advance in order to avoid searching them online in classrooms in the presence of students, where there is a possibility of inappropriate content showing up in the search. Whenever internet-based learning projects are assigned to students, teachers must pre-check the website and only secure portals have to be advised. The Samagra Resource Portal developed by KITE which has ICT contents for all classes, must be made to use to the maximum in classes. The internet usage in schools have to be strictly restricted for learning activities, official purposes and other learning / teaching related activities, the guidelines states.

The Cyber Safety protocol specifies 11 activities to be strictly followed by the students. The protocol warns against saving information and pictures in public machines, downloading information or contents from unknown or untrusted websites, handing over personal mobile phones and laptops to strangers, sharing personal information through internet and social media, avoiding meeting in person those whom students know only through internet.

The protocol also mandates headmasters of schools to hold specific discussions on cyber safety and cyber crimes portions referred in the present ICT textbooks of Classes VIII, IX and X. Detailed information on phishing (fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information), cyber stalking, deepfakes (forged videos that look real), camera hacking and even sexting (sharing sexually explicit content) have been elaborated under the ‘Students section’. In addition to these, warnings on transmitting trolls, images and videos related to cyber laws have been included in the protocol.

The protocol also demands parents to alert the officers concerned if they feel that their child has become a victim of and if required necessary counselling has to be provided. There are as many as 11 general instructions in the cyber safety protocol.

“Most often we see that Cyber Safety awareness classes are limited to mere speeches and no in-depth actions are initiated. Hence by effectively using ICT, we have devised a practical plan for eradicating the misuse of internet,” said K Anvar Sadath, vice- chairman and executive director of KITE in the preface of the protocol.

The Cyber Safety Protocol is available in the website of KITE www.kite.kerala.gov.in, he said.

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