From time-to-time our school receives phone calls from concerned parents and carers regarding social issues that have originated online – whether through social networking, gaming or instant messaging. Generally these issues are instigated outside of school hours and ultimately spill into the school day potentially affecting student wellbeing and performance.
To help mitigate these situations, we strongly recommend parents and carers:
- supervise students internet usage and mobile devices;
- set guidelines for usage;
- discuss with your child what they are doing online, who they are interacting with and how they go about this -that is, the programs and apps they are using. Your interest and advice has the capacity to positively impact your child’s decisions and keep them safe.
Online safety is paramount and students must be aware of their digital identity and the footprint they are creating via online engagement. This footprint has the potential to not only impact their daily life but influence their future prospects. Once content is made available online it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to remove, giving future employers and others access to view potentially defamatory information.
Students must also understand how to keep themselves and their peers safe online. Students should:
- only interact with people they know;
- avoid revealing the identity and location information of themselves or others;
- be cautious when uploading and tagging photographs and videos on websites and social media platforms;
- ensure privacy settings are reviewed regularly and kept as private as possible.
If you find your child is experiencing any online social issues due to an inappropriate exchange of messages, we suggest saving and printing the messages to have on hand in the event that further action is needed, either by the school or the police.
Listed below are websites where further information is available for parents and students:
1. Cyber safety:
- The eSafety Commissioner is responsible for promoting online safety for all Australians. Their website offers important information for parents on ‘how to start the chat’, as well as information and resources for both students and parents.
- NSW government schools website schoolatoz has useful tips and ideas for parents.
2. Digital citizenship:
- NSW government schools website digitalcitizenship has essential information for students, teachers and parents about digital citizenship and being safe, positive and responsible online.
- Stay Smart Online is the Australian governments cyber security website to help understand security risks and educate users on the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.
- ReachOut is Australia’s leading online youth mental health service.
- Kids Helpline is a free 24 hour counselling service for young people ages 5-25 years. Counselling is offered over the phone, email and via the web. Factsheets can be found on their website.
- Beyond Blue is a national initiative helping Australians with depression. They also have a dedicated site for teens – Youth Beyond Blue which contains factsheets and other important and useful information.