Posts Tagged cybersafety


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.

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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.

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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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An interesting article appeared on 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,

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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,

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 (

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

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Our students have access to a myriad of amazing and ubiquitous information and communications technologies (ICTs).  Mobile phones, smart phones, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Nintendo DS consoles, personal gaming consoles, laptops, PCs and even televisions can now connect with people from all over the world in an instant.  You can very easily communicate with a person from the other side of the world with a click of a button.

But, do you actually know who that person really is?  Just because there is a picture in their bio, location details, personal descriptions and regular conversations about their day to day lives, it could all be a big ruse, a lie – a massive deception.

It is easier than ever to become someone you are not for ill-gotten gains, whether they are for financial, identity or other sinister reasons.  Of course, we all want to protect our children.  But is banning them from Facebook really going to help them make good decisions?

At Coomera Anglican College, we are endeavouring to empower students with the ability to be discerning, critical and judgmental in their decisions about how, when, where and with whom they use ICTs in social and educational settings.

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