Perhaps the most common complaint from hosts these days is that their students spend all of their time online in their bedrooms. There are a number of serious problems that stem from this behaviour, so it is important that hosts have a good understanding of the problem, and are equipped with strategies to address it. The documents below outline CHI’s policies with respect to acceptable and unacceptable internet usage for students, and offer strategies to curtail unwanted behaviour.
To see what other hosts are saying about this issue, please visit our host forums discussion threads on the topic:
“Up all night on the computer”
“Internet bill extra high this month”
The following is an excerpt from our most recent Host Guide. You can download the full guide with the link below.
Student Internet Usage In Your Home¶
Your students will expect Internet access in the home. There is no extra fee charged to them or paid to the host family for Internet service. Many students bring their own computers. While CHI discourages hosts from sharing their computers with students, we do require every host to provide high-speed access for students’ personal computers by way of an account with a minimum of 25 Gigabytes of available bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data sent to and from your home over the Internet.
We advise hosts to monitor the kind of activity their students engage in online, and to discuss online habits together. Downloading movies, watching television shows online, chatting with friends, and playing video games can all be done safely, lawfully and, in healthy moderation, they can offer benefits. However, each of these activities can also create headaches for students and hosts alike if approached carelessly.
If they have brought their own laptop help them get connectivity. If they have skype, long distance calls will not be a problem. We do not recommend that you share your computer with any of your students and cannot be responsible for any damage to your computer that might ensue should you disregard this advice.
Be aware that most Internet service providers (ISP) in Canada now bill user accounts according to how much bandwidth their home uses, and the fees for exceeding these limits can be steep. However, many of our students come from countries where bandwidth limits and over-usage fees do not exist. We ask for your patience if students are initially inclined to use the computer a lot, and we offer strategies to curb over-usage and overage fees.
We encourage hosts to set reasonable limits on Internet usage regarding the amount of time students spend online, appropriate hours of the day to be online, and appropriate online activities. In order to support hosts in setting and communicating these reasonable limits, CHI has produced the Internet Usage Guide for Students, which contains the guidelines found below. Please review these guidelines with your students. (Please be aware that these guidelines were written with minors in mind, and that they may apply differently to adult students.)
A) We encourage students to make use of their time online for the following:
- Research, homework or other academic work
- Keeping in touch with family and friends at home
- Keeping in touch with friends in Canada
B) The following activities are permitted only when they are lawful, undertaken after all academic work is up to date, and if they do not unduly interfere with time spent with the host family:
- Streaming video (in reasonable amounts)
- Online gaming
- Downloading music or other media
C) The following activities are prohibited under the CHI Student Participation Agreement:
- Downloading pirated software or media
- Accessing adult content
- Spending excessive amounts of time online (more than 2 hours of recreational activity daily)
- Other activities that consume large amounts of bandwidth
CHI Policy and Consequences¶
Students who routinely spend more than two hours per day engaged in online recreation (social media, messaging, and B level activities), or whose activities (see A and consume excessive amounts of bandwidth resulting in overage charges, will be asked to contribute financially to their hosts Internet bill.
Students engaging in behaviour prohibited above (see C) will be subject to disciplinary action outlined in the Student Participation Agreement. In situations where there are overage charges or disciplinary action warranted, please consult your local CHI Relationship Manager.
Other Internet Tips:¶
We encourage our hosts to be informed and proactive consumers when it comes to their home Internet service:
A) Talk to your Internet service provider (ISP) about your bandwidth restrictions. They may be able to help you manage your account with services such as notifications when your usage reaches 50% of your monthly bandwidth availability.
B) Consider purchasing a router with advanced features. Belkin, Linksys, and D-Link all offer routers with timers, bandwidth trackers, content filters, and tools for identifying which computer in your network is accessing particular websites. Note that your ISP cannot provide these services due to privacy concerns.
C) Shop around for the best deal. Small, independent ISPs offer high-usage accounts for relatively low monthly costs.
D) Skype is a great application for students to keep in touch with home; it is free, and the chat mode and audio-conferencing do not use a lot of bandwidth. However, if students use Skypes video-conferencing option heavily, or if they remain signed in while they are not home or using the application, then Skype will eat up much more of your bandwidth than it should.
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