Safe use of digital technologies

Schools have a responsibility to educate young people responsible behaviour when using digital technologies.

Online safety practices and issues should be included within the school’s curriculum planning and taught explicitly.

  • Bully Stoppers – supports parents, teachers and principals in working together to make sure schools are safe and supportive places
  • Classroom resources – links to downloadable classroom activities, videos, interactive learning modules and quiz, advice sheets and other useful resources to use in the classroom
  •  Safer internet day student activities – developed to support primary and secondary teachers
  • Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner – the Office provides a range of up-to-date information and resources, coupled with a complaints system to assist children who experience serious cyberbullying

Supervision and duty of care online

Principals and teachers have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect students from any harm that should have reasonably been foreseen, including those that may be encountered within the online learning environment.

School based cybersafety education and conversations with adults are two major factors that influence young people's online safety strategies.

The cybersafety and cyberbullying sections within the Bully Stoppers online toolkit have been developed to support school communities to understand the behaviours and processes that will help them to act in a safe and responsible manner when using digital technologies.

For more information, see:

Respond to online incidents

The Emergency and Security Management Unit (ESMU) operates a twenty-four hour, seven days per week emergency and security communication and coordination centre. Step-by-step guides  provide practical steps and actions to protect, respond to or manage an online incident of concern.

Teachers working online

As a Department employee and a professional educator, modelling smart, appropriate use of digital resources is expected. See:

Manage personal information

Privacy and Data Security are important considerations when using services which operate online or within cloud technologies. These services usually require certain personal details to create an account or ‘login’. Such services also usually provide an opportunity for personal information to be created within the space by the teacher and/or the student.

Any use of student’s personal information online must be appropriately assessed and implemented to ensure students are safe and parents are informed and assured that our obligations are being met.

This applies even when students sign themselves up for an account under teacher direction or supervision. It also applies if the personal information will not be accessible to or viewed by others, as stored data in a system.

Follow these steps when using online tools: 

  • any use of online tools that include personal information must first be agreed to by the school principal or leadership team. This can be done in an email or a meeting
  • some assessment of privacy and security is required based on the level of risk (i.e. how much personal information in involved, the purpose of the online tool, the age of students using the tool). Use the privacy matrix as a start
  • parents must be informed of what online tools are being used. This includes the purpose and benefits of the tool, what personal information is involved, who is able to see it and where it is stored. Opt-out consent can be used in most cases. Use the school newsletter or other parent communication tools
  • Seek advice from the Digital Learning Unit if the tool is departmentally brokered or the Privacy Team privacy@edumail.vic.gov.au 

Schools must undertake a full privacy impact assessment (PIA) to identify and consider the privacy impacts of school-wide online services they have chosen to implement.

Copyright and intellectual property obligations mean that schools must have parent consent  before publishing, reproducing or communicating a student’s work, information or image. Schools should understand that while consent can be freely given, it can also be withdrawn at any time. If consent is withdrawn, the school must remove the content/resource or access immediately.

Acceptable use agreements

The Department has provided templates to assist school communities to develop agreements as to what constitutes acceptable use of internet, netbooks and other online and digital technologies in their communities. See:

Digital copyright

Material on the internet is protected by copyright. The material that comprises a website will be protected by copyright and various pieces of content may be owned by different people. See Smartcopying.

In general, copyright in print, musical and artistic works, sound recordings or film contained on the internet will not be infringed, where the copy or communication is done with the permission of the copyright owner. Schools can ask permission or it could be indicated on a site or provided through Creative Commons licences under the fair dealing, flexible dealing, educational and other statutory exceptions, copyright exceptions or through paid licence or agreement. For more information, see:

For information on school internet services and internet filtering, see Internet access.

For more information please contact digital.learning@edumail.vic.gov.au