Posts Tagged cyberbullying

CAC’s CyberSafety Strategy

CyberSafety is a headline-grabbing topic that affects everyone of us.  It is more than CyberBullying – it involves identity fraud, phishing, computer security and a whole range of internet and technology based issues.  At Coomera Anglican College, we have recognised the need to educate our teachers, parents and students about CyberSafety, and have been doing so proactively since 2008.  We have a whole school approach that is still developing, and involves some key elements.

Firstly, we have formed a CyberSafety Committee of enthusiastic and relevant staff stakeholders, so that we can effectively decentralise and administer the promotion of our message.  As the Primary Coordinator of students, Peter Parlett represents the Primary School, where we are focusing specifically in the Years 4 to 6 students, whilst still encouraging safe practices for the younger students.  Sasha Ristic and Phil Bishop represent the Junior and Senior Secondary schools respectively, and have a vested interest via their ongoing studies into Boys in Education.  Kerry Lowe and Dr Lee-Ann Prideaux are College Student Counsellors and therefore are very involved in student welfare.  Afzal Shariff has valuable input as the Head of IT, and Matthew Dixon represents as the Head of RaVE.

Some of the activities and initiatives that the committee is supporting include:

  • The CyberSafety Net – a College based website that can be used by anyone from around the world in their quest to educate students about CyberSafety.  This portal will hold our College CyberSafety Curriculum and resources (still in development)
  • Promotion of world-wide events like Safer Internet Day and National Cyber Security Awareness Week
  • Maintaining an ongoing dialogue about CyberSafety via student assembly presentations, staff meetings, classroom activities and general interactions with students
  • Participation in the Youth Advisory Group on Cybersafety (YAG)
  • Student, Teacher and Parent information sessions delivered by the ACMA CyberSmart Team
  • Participation in the CyberSafety Strand of the QSITE state conference to be held at CAC in July 2012
  • Infusing CyberSafety into homework, RaVE and PD activities

The teachers at Coomera Anglican College are committed to providing education for students to ensure that they use the internet safely.  It is vitally important that students and parents reinforce this commitment.  A good way to start is by following a few simple rules when using the internet:

  • Keep personal stuff personal – including addresses, phone numbers, etc
  • Protect your username and password
  • Stay positive online – friendly, respectful and trustworthy
  • Don’t assume that you are is anonymous on the internet – people can be identified by various methods
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Seek adult advice if something makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Don’t participate in any negative interactions – break the cycle
  • Keep your computers in common areas, NOT in bedrooms
  • Back everything up regularly – keep at least 2 copies of all your digital belongings, including school work

Together we can help try to make the internet a safer place for all users.

 

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CyberBullying

An interesting article appeared on news.com.au during the school break.  The item referred to Australia as being the Facebook bullying capital of the world based, on a study conducted by The Ipsos Social Research Institute.  In this study, Australia was ranked fifth in the world for cyber-bullying, although nine out of ten parents say that when cyber-bullying occurred, it was via such sites as Facebook.

The article goes on to say that the rise of cyber bullying was a massive concern as it took it harassment from the playground directly into victim’s bedrooms.  John Dalgleish, Kids Helpline manager of strategy and research, was quoted as saying “Cyber bullying has a profound impact as it widens the audience (from school) and means it can be seen by anyone.  It can be used as an extension of face-to-face bullying and takes it from the classroom and into a child’s own bedroom undermining their sense of safety and security.”

KidsHelpline offers counseling to bullying victims, and Mr Dalgleish prompts children to come forward and speak out.  Children who feel threatened can tell a trusted adult, teacher or parent who can take action on their behalf, and in extreme cases take it to the police.  “The first thing victims need to know is it’s not their fault.  Action can be taken and it can be stopped.

At Coomera Anglican College, we are dedicated to promoting safe internet and mobile phone use.  In Term One, we will launch our own CyberSafety website for parents, students and teachers to consult.

The introduction of laptops across the College has really taken our learning capabilities to a new and exciting level.  Whilst the students love having access to a laptop that they can call their own, I have been impressed by the response of the teachers and the way that they have embraced the technology.  Teachers in general are notorious for not wanting to change their ways and modify what they have perfected over the years.  Through a combination of dynamic teamwork, willingness to develop skills and the realisation that using technology can enhance a student’s education, our teachers are making the necessary changes to fully utilise laptops and their features.

(Killalea, D. and Paine, C., January 18, 2012. ANTI-SOCIAL NETWORK: Australia – the Facebook bullying capital, http://www.news.com.au/technology/anti-social-network-australia-the-facebook-bullying-capital/story-e6frfro0-1226246496953#ixzz1kzdtURlc)

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CyberSafety Teacher Training

A recent article from USA TODAY writer Mary Beth Marklein has highlighted the fact that ‘America’s K-12 teachers are ill-prepared to educate students on the basics of online safety, security and ethics, and more than a third of teachers receive no training in cybersecurity issues, according to a coalition of government and private technology experts’. (CourierPostOnline, http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110504/NEWS05/110504010/Survey-Educators-lack-training-teach-online-safety)

Cybersafety is one of the most topical threats to our young people today.  The Cybersafety umbrella covers bullying, fraud, security, theft – all kinds of safety issues related to technology and communications carriers.  Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (USA) reflects that ‘In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math.’  Alarmingly, of the 1 600 educators surveyed, 36% revealed that they receive NO Cybersafety training from their employers.

At Coomera Anglican College, we have been proactively addressing Cybersafety, in formal training and students-based initiatives, for the past three years.  These initiatives include training and workshops for parents, students and teachers courtesy of the ACMA, and successful use of web based resources such as Digizen.

During Terms Two and Three of 2011, we will again be focusing on Cybersafety in the classrooms.  In a full and rigorous curriculum, it can be detrimental to add another curriculum element at the expense of existing content.  Our Cybersafety activities will be implemented during Pastoral Care, assemblies, RAVE classes and for homework.  Complemented by informal reinforcement and discussions by our fantastic and dedicated teachers, we are very confident that all our technologically active and social networking students will be exposed to positive and safe strategies for using technology.  This is not a guarantee that there won’t be any incidents related to technology perpetrated by our students.  It is a guarantee for our parents that we are serious about the safety of our students, and serious about holding students accountable if they knowingly choose to use technology in a negative, dangerous or hurtful manner.

It should be noted that bullying and Cyberbullying are the same actions, committed using different mediums and methods.  The College’s bullying and bystander policies are clear, and relate to any form of bullying.

Here are a couple of hard and fast rules for all users of technology:

  1.  Never share your passwords with anyone other than your parents or husband / wife
  1. If you write or post text or images on the internet, they are accessible to anyone at anytime.  Even if content is deleted, it can often be retrieved by a number of methods
  1. To quote the Bible – ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’
  1. Claiming that a negative action (posting nasty comments, setting up fake Facebook pages, etc) is ‘only a joke’ is not acceptable (see above)
  1. If you would feel uncomfortable doing something on the computer with Dr Sly or your Grandmother watching over your shoulder, than you should definitely not be doing it

If you have any concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to contact your teacher for advice or action.  Parents, students and teachers are all stakeholders in the safety of our College community members.

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CyberSafety – Oh Yeah!!

Cybersafety is a growing concern amongst parents and educators alike.  Students need to be empowered with the ability to make decisions that will not impair others or themselves.  Recent events in the media and on the internet have highlighted the dangers of social media technology  when placed in the hands of children too young or not socially aware enough to control the situation.

This is the fourth year of a proactive approach to promoting Cybersafety amongst our College community.  This year, a whole school approach on Social Networking and CyberBullying will help our students to take control of their Cyber Lifestyles and use digital tools in positive and life-affirming ways.

A recent article on Ninemsn describes how authorities in South Australia are moving to clamp down on CyberBullying after the recent internet posting of a bullying incident.   The article quotes South Australia’s Attorney General John Rau proposing new laws to prosecute anyone who posts “humiliating or demeaning content of another person without their permission”.

Quoted from Ninemsn (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8224642/south-australia-plans-to-crack-down-on-cyber-bullying)

On the same page, there is a report that Facebook is currently removing 20 000 users a day from its website because they are underage.  Informal surveys of our students have indicated that there is a large number of students at CAC who are in fact underage Facebook users.  For those who are unsure, the minimum age to qualify for a Facebook account is 13 years of age.  Some would argue that even this age is too young.

Of course, children will want to use Facebook because they see their parents, friends and famous people using Facebook.  It is currently cool.  In the past, some students as young as Prep age have indicated that their parents have set up Facebook accounts for them.  The position of the College is that we endorse the 13 years of age limit for a Facebook account and we also encourage parents to do the same.  Age limits are set for very significant reasons.  Ultimately it is the parents’ responsibility to manage their children’s online activities.  Access to social networking sites is unavailable to students on Coomera Anglican College computers.

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CyberSafety – What??

Cybersafety is the safe and appropriate use of technology like mobile phones and the Internet. The rising prevalence of social networking (Facebook, MSN, Twitter, etc) has enabled cowardly and vindictive people to harass others from a safe distance, often anonymously.

At Coomera Anglican College, we are being proactive in the education of our students to use technology positively and appropriately at all times. Cyberbullying and instances of the inappropriate use of technology, inside and outside of school hours, are not tolerated. Teachers and students have access to Cybersafety resources via the ‘eLearning Skills Builder’ Course located in Passmarc. Parents can access information within the Passmarc ‘Parent Zone’.

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) has provided some insightful ways for families to conduct ‘Technology Safe Planning’. Topics include Trust Your Instincts, Plan for Safety and Google Yourself. To view this article, go to http://www.dvrcv.org.au/help-advice/technology-safety-planning/.

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What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of technology like mobile phones, computers and the internet to harass, intimidate, embarrass and annoy people. It is bullying, the same as ganging up on someone in the playground or on the bus. Bullying is not tolerated in schools, society or the workplace and is punishable by law. 



What can you do?

All internet users need to follow these rules when going online:

  • Treat people as you wish to be treated.  If your message could possibly be misconstrued, use emoticons to display your tone 🙂

  • If the message is really private, it is probably best delivered in person, rather than by a medium that can be forwarded or copied

  • If you feel uncomfortable in an online situation, tell an adult who you trust.  Don’t worry about being blamed or embarrassed because adults are not like your peers.  Adults will keep things to themselves and look at things without making judgements

  • It is not your fault if you are being bullied without reason

  • Keep private stuff private – passwords, who you like, personal photos, etc.  Keep it to yourself and definitively don’t put it online

  • If you wouldn’t say or do something online with your parents or Principal watching, then it is definitely not the right thing to do.  Think of the consequences for you and the person you are about to bully

  • Get to know the best ways to keep your online profiles as private as you need

  • Stand up for your friends.  Tell an adult if you are aware of CyberBullying occurring.  Remember the Bystander’s Code and refuse to be a supporter, spectator or passive witness to bullying

  • Before you hit send or post, take a deep breath and think about it for 30 seconds.  Don’t get caught up in the moment; think about what MIGHT happen if you send that image or message.  If nothing positive can come of it, it really can’t be worth doing

  • If you think your friends have a taken a joke too far, let them know

  • If you are uncomfortable, leave the situation

  • If you have been bullied, keep the evidence (try the Prtscn button – it takes an image of your screen that you can paste into Word)

  • Block or delete those who make you feel uncomfortable

  • Report abuse to managers or even the Police


The following video is a comprehensive guide to CyberBullying



(Source: The Anti-Bully Blog, http://antibullyingblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/anti-bullying-pics-of-day.html)

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a young Australian who was a victim of CyberBullying.  He has a great blog and some relevant ideas for those who feel threatened.  The post entitled ‘Tom Wood’s Guide to Stopping CyberBullying‘ can help you determine what steps you should take to stop any unwanted attention online.  Tom is a great example of leadership and resilience for all our young people.


Office – An Interactive CyberBullying Website

Click on the image below to use the interactive ‘Office’ CyberBullying site created by Chris Webster.

Office by Chris Webster


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