Welcome back parents and students! I trust you had a safe and enjoyable break. It is always a concern when children in this day and age have a large amount of free time on their hands, often without direct adult supervision, and in the possession of two or more devices that have internet access. It would be naïve of us to think that none of our students were exposed to dangerous or unsafe incidents whilst online over the holidays. If your child was involved in a CyberSafety problem, would they know what to do? Would they even tell you?
Often children won’t divulge any negative incidents online for fear of either being blamed, implicated or having their privileges taken away. Our first instinct as parents is often to cut off the source of any nastiness, and that means banning smart phones or the internet. But by doing this parents are taking away what is an essential part of a teenager’s life and support network. If your child was involved in an incident but was entirely blameless or an accidental bystander, they could rightly argue for benefit of the doubt.
The best way to avoid nasty incidents, or at least give your children skills to manage whatever may come their way, is to educate them on the possible dangers, develop family policies (with consequences) and build a level of trust so that incidents will be reported. Add an action plan for your children to follow and they some great coping mechanisms to deal with potential threats like bullying, identity theft, fraud, spamming, scamming, sexting, computer protection, trolling and all the other things that can occur whilst using a computer or internet-enabled device.
If you think that is all a little too hard for you to manage, you are probably right! So, why not come along to our CyberSafety Parent Evening on the 28th August? It will be held in the IGC, and we are inviting parents from schools around Coomera to attend, as we believe that this is a community issue and offering free attendance to our catchment area families is one way we can give back to our local community. The session starts at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:30 pm. If you can only make it sometime after 6:00, you can still come along at any time to listen to our speakers. We will have a representative from the ACMA’s CyberSmart Outreach, and a member of the Queensland Police Task Force Argos (Child Safety & Sexual Crime Group) who will be presenting in that order. This in an excellent opportunity for our parents to get first-hand information on how to keep our children safe, provided free of charge by Coomera Anglican College. I hope to see you there.