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Here is a checklist of things that you as proactive, protective parents can do to ensure that your children have positive experiences online:
- Talk to your children about the internet (click here for some conversation starters)
- Create a family internet / technology agreement, contract or set of rules
- Contact your ISP or read your modem manual to explore blocking or filtering options
- Model safe internet practice, and think before you post
- Research the laws about social networking, including age limits (13+)
- Ensure that privacy settings and computer protection applications are in place (AVG, Security Essentials)
- Take a screenshot of evidence of bullying or inappropriate behaviour
- Show your children how to protect your family’s personal information and passwords
Another thing to remember is that you have the right to take away internet access as a consequence of misuse. Having a concise technology plan constructed by the whole family will ensure that your children know the family rules and expectations, and what will happen if these rules are not followed.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has a large amount of resources dedicated to being cyber(smart:). One area they are targeting is educating parents in order to help them understand the online world that their children are frequenting. Chatterbox tries to help parents identify where technology fits with the trials and tribulations of growing up, and offers ways to help protect your children.
Part of this strategy includes some excellent videos for parents. The first three videos are embedded in The CyberSafety Net, Coomera Anglican College’s very own eSmart website. They typically run for 90 seconds. They are informative, engaging and may just save your family a lot of problems in the future. The topics include:
- Selfies and Someone-Elsies
- Tots, Teens and In-Betweens
- Trolling, Tagging and Bagging
Parents can join the conversation on the ACMA CyberSmart Facebook page.
Wondering about the hype that surrounds selfies? Or maybe you just want to get your head around what your kids are up to online. Tune in to learn what Cybersmart Chatterbox has to say on selfies, sexting and advice for parents.
We all enjoy sharing images and information on-line, for all sorts of reasons.
How do we help our children navigate the implications that a voyeuristic culture can present?
Tune in on Safer Internet Day – February 11, 2014 and join the conversation below with one or more of our presenters live between 12pm and 1pm EST to share your experiences with other parents on this site throughout the week.
For a fully accessible version, please follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaY3xagbI4w
Cybersmart Chatterbox explores growing up in the digital age. Episode Two provides insight into the social and emotional development of young people and its impact on possible behaviours online.
Issues that may be identified at particular developmental stages and related potential legal and social consequences are explored along with preventative and reactive strategies to help maximise the development of a child’s digital citizenship skills.
Download an accessible version of the full transcript here: http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/~/media/3EA5682F7F1A484FBBB05F4DFF4763F5.doc
Your child communicates with various people in various ways every day. Online communication through picture posting, status updates, texting and instant messaging is an integral part of life, with many benefits for self-expression. However, young people need to be aware that many of the rules, manners and etiquette principles that apply to face-to-face interactions also apply to digital interactions. Episode Three explores the potential for harm that can sometimes occur when social media is misused.
Download the fully accessible transcript of the video here: http://cybersmart.gov.au/~/media/3971B74D746744C5BF38D01094D15F73.doc
Family Technology Plan – Get Prepared for the Easter Break
As we head towards the Easter break, it is worthwhile ensuring that your Family Technology Plan is finalised and your children know when, where and how they can use internet enabled devices. For example, do your children know:
- What to do if they are bullied on Facebook?
- How to react if they witness an inappropriate image on Instagram?
- Snapchat promotes sexting and a false sense of security around sending images?
- Ask.fm encourages bullying, nasty rumours and disgusting comments from anonymous users?
- It is illegal to download free (pirated) movies, games and music using bit torrent software?
- The spaces in your house where they can use social media?
- How long they can play Xbox or PlayStation before having a rest?
- They will not win an iPad if they click on that popup?
- How they should be interacting with other people online?
- Never to meet an online friend without your knowledge, permission and company?
- How much information they can post about themselves and their private family details?
- What you deem to be an inappropriate image before they post photos online?
- There are videos on YouTube that are not suitable for children?
- Anything they put on the internet can be copied, saved and posted, even if they only send it to one person?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, it is time to negotiate your rules with your children, before it is too late. Click here to get some ideas for your Family Technology Plan. Don’t forget to include input from your children, set consequences and try to model the behaviour you are promoting.
Josh’s First App
Josh C has just released his first app on iTunes. ‘Whack-a-Sloth’ is optimised for iPads and iPhones (NOT iPhone 4), costs $0.99 and is the best game ever invented. Let’s get Josh to the top of the downloads charts and see who can beat the best score! Whack-a-Sloth is available from the iTunes store.
If your children are asking permission to enter the world of social networking, and you want to do it the right way, attending a SafetyNET Education Interactive Workshop could be the answer.
‘SafetyNET Education’s vision is to educate and empower families to use the Internet and particularly social media safely. We believe that with education, guidance and family involvement all children can use the Internet safely.
SafetyNET Education offers the only interactive seminars in Australia for parents to attend with their children. SafetyNET Education believes that providing families with the opportunity to discuss and use social media together in a neutral setting under guidance is crucial to increasing the safety of children on the Internet. These seminars take children between 11 and 14 and their parents through the process of setting up their first social media account. Safety and security settings are thoroughly discussed and edited to ensure maximum privacy and minimum risk of contact from strangers. The workshops aim to be fun and informative as well easy to understand for both the parent and child.
Seminars run for 45 minutes to an hour depending on if the child currently has a Facebook account or if this needs to be created during the class. Families are invited to bring their own device from home (preferably laptop, ipad or tablet – mobile phones have limited access to settings) so that everything that is learnt during the workshop can be utilised at home. Families leave the seminar with a safe functioning social media account for the child, an Internet usage agreement signed by both the parent and child and free access to the member area of the SafetyNET website.’
These interactive parent and child sessions normally cost $45 per family.
The ACMA released a new parent support site called Chatterbox on Safer Internet Day (Tuesday, 11February). Chatterbox is designed to simplify the digital world in which our students exist, so that parents can more readily deal with any issues raised by their youngsters.
‘New research released by CyberSmart has found that 78% of children and young people would turn to their parents first as a source of online safety information. Chatterbox is an online discussion forum for parents that will equip them to approach online safety issues with confidence and increase their understanding of children’s online experiences. It is like a conversation parents may have around the dinner table with friends about online safety issues.
Chatterbox episodes will be released regularly throughout 2014. Each episode begins with a short introductory video to familiarise parents with the topic, followed by the Chatterbox audio episode, each of which runs for approximately 10 minutes. Parents are then encouraged to submit questions, share stories and advice with each other in our virtual discussion forum.
The informal and interactive nature of Chatterbox will provide parents with a fresh and jargon-free perspective on CyberSafety issues. Chatterbox conversations can be downloaded and accessed at home or on a mobile device. Each chat episode provides parents with targeted steps to help minimise potential challenges and maximise the benefits of online use.’
Happy Valentine’s Day to our fantastic parents! I thought it timely to share some potentially helpful material with you on this day, as it is a time when people traditionally share their romantic feelings for each other. In a teenager’s digital world, sharing feelings and showing someone that you think they are special can unfortunately entail ‘sexting’.
As we all know, sexting involves sending or posting compromising images, video or text to another person. What the senders don’t understand is that these messages are often forwarded, saved or shared with others, causing major embarrassment and a severe breach of trust. Sexting is prevalent amongst teenagers around the world, and is often perpetuated by adults who should know better. May I suggest two courses of action in the context of sexting.
Firstly, talk to your children NOW. Tomorrow may be too late. Explain what they can and can’t share online or via their phone. Explain what can potentially happen to anything that they share in a digital format. Explain how their life will collapse around them if they send inappropriate content that is shared by the recipient, especially if they have a falling out. Explain what to do if someone asks them to send an inappropriate images. Explain what to do if they need help or wish to speak with someone. Explain what to do if they receive inappropriate images or video from another underage person.
If you are not sure about what can happen to people who possess inappropriate images or video of underage boys and girls, you should read this article.
Secondly, read the excellent ACMA guide So you got naked online—managing sexting with your teen. This online or downloadable booklet will help parents and children discover:
- Why these things happen and what different people think about it
- When it has happened to others and what they have done
- How the technology works and what the real risks are
- What the first things are you can do to begin to take control
- Whether your fears of getting into trouble are realistic
- The impact on you for the future and what you can do about it
- How to get support and advice from organisations who are there to help you for just this sort of issue
Teenagers have a great deal of pressure placed upon them, internally and externally, to be liked or to be cool. If a girl thinks that by sending a compromising photo of herself to a boy they like will ensure that the boy will like them, they may be tempted to do so. If a boy receives such an image and thinks that his mates will call him a legend if he shares it with them, he will be tempted to do so. It is an uncomfortable topic to discuss with our children, but the risks of not doing can be catastrophic.
‘Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.
Safer Internet Day 2016 will be celebrated on Tuesday 9 February 2016. The strapline for the campaign is “Let’s create a better internet together”.’
Click on the link below to watch some great SID – style videos, and ask your self:
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.