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Cybersafety FAQs

What is Mobile Zone?

Mobile Zone is a downloadable app/software tool from the software company Family Zone that is installed on your child’s device. It allows us to apply our acceptable use policies during school times and gives parents the option of parental controls after school.

What has prompted St Andrew's College electing to proceed with Mobile Zone for Years 7–10?

Mobile technology has made a huge contribution to our lives in a positive way, making it possible for:

  • An information library to be at our fingertips.
  • A high level of personalisation, i.e. you can configure the look and feel to suit your needs.
  • Opportunities to collaborate and broaden knowledge and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.

Unfortunately, mobile technology is proving to be the cause of huge social and emotional issues too:

  • It can be a huge distraction  most people will respond to a mobile phone even when they are talking to someone, or at work, or in class.
  • It is impacting not only on the quality of sleep but also the length of sleep. Young people need nine hours of uninterrupted sleep – how many young people have their phone beside their bed or under their pillow?
  • Poor quality sleep leads to poor academic performance.
  • Research is linking excessive use of mobile technology to anxiety and depression.
  • Research is also showing that there is a negative impact on academic performance. When a phone is placed on the desk or is on a student while in class, it acts as a distraction and so the focus is not on learning, i.e. deep cognitive learning does not happen.
  • There is a chemical release of the hormone dopamine when someone gets a message. This is the same hormone that gets released with gamblers, i.e. there are addiction issues around the use of technology.
  • A large amount of what is learnt in a lesson is forgotten as the student transitions from one class to the next while checking their updates.
  • There are issues around the interaction between young people. Students will say things online that they would never say face to face or post personal information or information that is private to others that they would normally never distribute. Relational aggression is facilitated through mobile technology. The Deans and Counsellors deal with a large number of these instances on an all-too-regular basis.
  • Students are often seen walking around with their heads down oblivious of their surroundings – how often have we seen students sitting around in a circle on their devices, rather than interacting with each other?
  • Students have access to sites that are age inappropriate, e.g. pornography sites.
  • Mobile phones can enable laptops to circumvent a school security system through tethering or hot-spotting.

St Andrew’s College has a modern filtering solution in place for when students are on the wireless network. However, this is easily circumvented with the use of a device’s 4G connection. The Mobile Zone software provides a platform by which similar levels of protection can be provided on 4G network connections.

Importantly, St Andrew’s College sees the introduction of Mobile Zone as only part of the solution. In tandem with this initiative will be the continued drive to embed within the curriculum a programme of education regarding cybersafety, welfare and good digital citizenship. To filter connectivity without providing education about the risks regarding Internet and social media use would not prepare our students properly for life after St Andrew’s.

In addition, we have had many requests from parents for help in this area. The Internet is a complex and ever-changing environment, and it is very difficult to keep on top of the risks. Mobile Zone is seen as a tool by which parents can optionally exact similar controls on connectivity and usage outside of school hours.

Can students outside Years 7–10 be included in the St Andrew’s College Mobile Zone initiative?

The introduction of Mobile Zone was a significant project for St Andrew’s College. The selected year groups were chosen as the focus as the early teen years have generally represented the most issues regarding smartphones and social media.

As students get older, we feel that educating them regarding the positive and negative aspects of the Internet and social media is the defining factor in good decision making and preparation for the future, rather than a continued reliance on filtering.

However, for those that choose to do so, Mobile Zone is a commercial product and as such, parents outside of Years 710 will be able to sign up to this at their own cost via the www.familyzone.com website. 

What is the cost?

St Andrew’s College currently pays for Mobile Zone for Years 7–10 students.

How do I sign up?

Invitations to sign up to the service will be sent out at the start of each academic year.

If you missed the invite, there is a consent form which can be found here.

To login to the form, you will be prompted for a username and password. This is the same username and password that you use to access the Community Portal.
If you have forgotten your username, please contact records@stac.school.nz.
If you have forgotten your password, please click here to reset it.

I have given my consent for Family Zone – what happens next?

Before St Andrew's College can submit your details to Family Zone, we must also have recorded that your eldest child in Years 7–10 has read the Student Cybersafety Use Agreement and confirmed their consent.

St Andrew's College gathers this consent when a student connects a device to the College network, at which point they are prompted to accept the terms of the agreement.

Click here to see the agreements.

Once student consent and Family Zone consent has been received, a nightly process automatically sends the required details for registration to Family Zone. Typically Family Zone act upon those details within a few days. You will then receive an email from Family Zone with a link that can be used to complete the registration process and log into the Family Zone portal.

What if I don’t want my child to have this software installed on their personal device?

The College completely respects the decision of any parent who does not wish to sign-up to this initiative. The respective students will be required to hand any personal devices into their associated school office, if they are found to be using them during the school day.

What about laptops used for classwork?

We highly recommend that the software be installed on BYOD laptops too. However, this is not mandatory. It should also be remembered that using hot-spots (also known as tethering) is not permitted at St Andrew’s College from BYOD laptops, as it is deemed to be circumventing the security in place on the College network for the protection of the student. Equally the running of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent filtering on the College wireless network is also forbidden.

Where can I get the Family Zone laptop software from?

Once you are fully signed up with Family Zone and have an account, the laptop software can be downloaded from https://www.familyzone.com/laptops.

Will St Andrew’s College be viewing or acting upon student personal device usage either inside or outside of the school day?

St Andrew’s College have opted out of the School Community feature of Family Zone that provides access to personal student data. As such, St Andrew’s College is not provided access by Family Zone to any information that may be gathered by them regarding usage or additional user information other than that outlined in the St Andrew’s College Family Zone Privacy Policy.

Can the software track location?

Family Zone may in the future offer additional functionality that can provide parents with an opportunity to use the software to track device location. However, as per the privacy policy, the recording of location information is an optional feature that can be enabled or disabled on an individual basis as requested. St Andrew’s College cannot use the software for location tracking.

Will St Andrew’s College read messages using the app?

No. St Andrew’s College will not have access to any Family Zone tools that would provide an ability to view search terms used or messages sent.

How will boarders have their Mobile Zone settings administered?

Mobile Zone settings will broadly be aligned to that of the filtering in place on the school network. Boarding Managers will be provided with a means to administer any required day-to-day changes, i.e. acting as a parent out of hours.

How can I get help with Mobile Zone?

If you have any problems with the installation or use of the Mobile Zone software, Family Zone provide an extensive set of help pages. Contact details for Family Zone can be found here. St Andrew’s College is unable to provide support for Mobile Zone, as parent accounts are with Family Zone and not with the College.