There was an interesting article Published in the Courier Mail last week and forwarded to me by Mr Jason Cooper. The lead sentence stated that:
QUEENSLAND schools are struggling to contain an outbreak of malicious student-run gossip sites, with authorities shutting down at least one a day.
Education Queensland has employed the services of a former detective to investigate students’ Facebook sites and shut them down if they are negative, derogatory, defamatory or incite violence. Teachers and principals are also being targeted in these sites, and the department is ‘aggressively’ hunting down those responsible.
Clinical psychologist Associate Professor Alan Ralph equated these groups to exclusive, secret societies whose members thank the activity is “not being monitored and that it’s a private conversation. Parents feel like there’s nothing they can do and there’s an element of helplessness.”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Australia’s pre-eminent child psychologist and cyber-bullying expert coined the phrase “digital Dutch courage” when referring to such Facebook users. “Because there’s no face-to-face stuff and there’s an illusion of anonymity, very nice kids will say and do things online that they would never do in real life.”
Sending a message of support to those being bullied, rather than confronting the cyberbully can be a positive action on behalf of innocent bystanders. Joining, liking, supporting or not reporting such groups is tantamount to perpetrating the actual negativity that they promote.
Dr Carr-Gregg also ‘urged parents to restrict their children’s use of social networking sites and stop “out-sourcing responsibility for cyber-safety to schools”.’ At Coomera Anglican College, we have been, and will continue to be proactive in getting across the message of Cybersafety in all its shapes and forms. Currently in development is our own stand- alone Cybersafety Website that gathers all the best resources from the internet and sequences them into teaching strings for schools to use. We also have a Cybersafety Cheat Sheet available in this week’s newsletter. Please have a look at this sheet as it shows you how you can keep a close eye on your child’s internet use so that they can stay safe and have positive experiences in a n online world.