Two exceptional events in the life of the College occurred last week. Firstly, we held two very successful CyberSafe Parents sessions in the new Professional Learning Australia training room. Around 30 vigilant and proactive parents participated the sessions, which focused on our eSmart strategy, mobile technology, creating a family technology plan and dangerous websites.
The main thrust of the sessions was identifying dangerous practices and websites, as well as formulating a family technology plan. Here are my top five tips for a family technology plan:
1. Get to know the technologies that you children are using all the time. Become and expert and ensure that you are a ‘friend’ who can see everything that they, and their other ‘friends’, are posting.
2. Insist that the family technology plan travels with your children. The same rules that apply at home apply for them at parties, sleepovers, time away from home and whenever they are unsupervised by you.
3. Enforce the rule that deletion of online history, such as videos viewed on YouTube, websites visited and search history, is a sure sign that the child is participating in activities that they don’t want you to see. These actions should result is loss of online access, as you have the right to know exactly what your children are viewing.
4. Compromise on a nightly cut off time for mobile device usage. Have a designated place that phones, tablets and other devices are placed for charging and storage overnight, and a specified time that they can be accessed in the morning. Buy a real alarm clock for your children so they aren’t using their phone. This is a good rule for all family members.
5. Stick to the 13 + age policy in place for most social networking sites. Set up a family Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account that your children can manage, but ensure that you monitor the account, and insist on privacy settings that only allow for approved friends or followers. Make sure that before allowing someone to follow you, you have checked their history to see the content they are posting.
You can access all of the notes from the sessions here. Be on the lookout for more CyberSafe (eSmart) Parents Sessions this year.
We also had an article published in the Bulletin that highlighted our efforts in the eSmart realm. Well done to the Year 8 students who were interviewed that day, as they were articulate and very knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities. You can view the story here.