CyberSafety – A State of Mind

CyberSafety is a state of mind.  It starts and ends with the user.  Ask yourself this; Does my child know how to react in or manage a situation in which their safety is compromised?  If they receive an email from someone they don’t know, promising a new iPad if they click on a link, do they know what to do?  If someone is harassing your daughter on Facebook, sending her inappropriate images and messages, will she handle it correctly?  If your son’s best mate wants his College password because he forgot his own, will he give it to him?  If there is any doubt in your mind about these questions, or any other scenarios that you can imagine, then you need to create your family’s CyberSafety Rules.  The holidays are only a week away, and your child will potentially have an extra 7 hours a day with internet access that is not vigilantly monitored and filtered by the College IT Department.  What steps can you take to ensure a reasonable level of security for your family members?

Firstly, devise your family’s internet rules.  Start with who, what, where, when, why and how.

Who is allowed to use the internet?

  • What sites can they access?
  • Where can they use the internet?
  • When are the allowable times?
  • Why do we keep our personal information, including passwords, private?
  • How do we react in certain situations?

Agree on real and enforced consequences for breaking the rules or inappropriate use.  Change the wireless password to control the access.  Get to know how to check  internet history (ctrl+h) or Skype messages.  Install the Parental Control Bar to limit access to your approved websites.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can install Splashtop Streamer on the computer and Splashtop Remote on your device, so that you can monitor what is on the screen of your home computer while you are at work.  All of these small changes give help give you peace of mind and limit the potential harm that can be done to your children.

Another way to become more CyberSafe is to attend our upcoming ACMA CyberSafety Outreach Parent Evening on the 28th August.  “Each presentation is approximately 60 minutes excluding question time.  These presentations are easy to understand, thorough, non-technical and informative. They cover a range of issues including:

We have booked the presentation for 6:00 pm, but that time can be changed to a start anytime between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm.  To register your referred starting time, please click here and complete the anonymous survey.

Students from across the College are currently participating in the National Cyber Security Awareness Week pledge.  Students from Years 4 to 12 can add a text, image or movie pledge to reinforce their support for CyberSafety.  There are some great media entries, from which we will choose a winner from each campus to receive a $15 gift voucher from JB Hifi.  Entries close Midnight on Friday 8 June.

Lastly, parents need to be aware of a style of website that is truly alarming.  Totally anonymous chat rooms, some with webcam streaming, allow anybody from anywhere in the world to communicate with your child without any registration or age check required.  These websites are obviously dangerous and, I repeat, connect users with anonymous and random people.  Click here to read an article which lists and describes some of the websites that pose a threat to your children.