Posts Tagged facebook

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  Three of the big social media platforms that allow people of all ages from all over the world to view images, videos and information about each other.  These tools are great for keeping in touch, sharing your thoughts and being creative.  Unfortunately, they can also be used to cause harm.

These three networking tools, like the majority of online resources, have a 13 plus registration policy, and for good reasons.  Children under this age are not equipped with the necessary skills to use these tools safely.  If your son or daughter has a social networking account with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or similar sites like Snapchat, and they are under 13, they are breaking the policy guidelines of the sites.  You may have given them your blessing, or you may not even know that this is the case.  Here are some ways to allow your children to safely use social networking, and still uphold your ethical responsibility to monitor their behaviour and ensure that they are interacting in an acceptable manner online:

  • If your child is under 13, disable their social media accounts.  Today.
  • Ensure that you have control of the passwords that allow for downloading apps on all household devices
  • To allow for social networking and to observe what is going on, create family accounts that your children can use to add content
  • Closely monitor the content being added and viewed by your children
  • Enforce a curfew of 7:00 for all devices to be in a central location like the kitchen charging area
  • Block those users who are acting inappropriately
  • I repeat, closely monitor your child’s use of social networking tools
  • If you can’t closely monitor the use of these tools, don’t allow them until your children are 13.  Or 16.  Or 18.

One way that you can get more ibformation about social networking sites is to visit The Easy Guide to Socialising Online (

Parents and teachers can provide valuable input to decision makers by joining the Teachers and Parents Advisory Group on Cybersafety.  This initiative allows adults who have children or work in education to guide policy and inform change at the highest levels of government.  If you are interested, visit for a registration form.  More information about the DBCDE’s efforts in the CyberSafety field can be seen at

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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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Facebook – Don’t blame the messenger

Two interesting articles have appeared in the Geelong Advertiser and the Brisbane Times this week. Both relate implicitly to our young people and how they go about their social and academic business in an online world.

Firstly, an unnamed magistrate has spoken out against Facebook, saying that ‘If I had my way, there wouldn’t be a Facebook. And it would save me a lot of the work I have to do in this court.’ Harsh and controversial words indeed. However, it does highlight the impact that Facebook is having on both those people who are not emotionally or cognitively mature enough to use Facebook in a positive way, and the victims of bullying and abuse who are targeted in a CyberBullying scenario. Both lives can be potentially damaged in different ways.

A Geelong secondary student was granted an intervention order against a fellow student, after six years of abusive behaviour. Such behaviour included stealing, verbal threats, assault, stalking, threatening phone calls and abusive Facebook messages. The situation was so bad that the principal suggested the victim move to a different school as he could not guarantee her safety.

(Matthews, Karen. (2011) Facebook Slammed in Court,, viewed on 25/10/2011)

The bottom line here is that Facebook is not to blame for the initial behaviour, but is now being used to perpetuate the cycle of bullying. Here are some simple tips for parents whose children have a Facebook account:

• Do not allow your child to have a Facebook account until they are over 13 and are mature enough to use it in a positive and appropriate manner
• Create your own account so that you can monitor what your children are doing on Facebook
• Use software like the Parental Control Bar to block Facebook during study time
• Discuss with your child what you consider appropriate content for Facebook
• Discuss a course of action if your child feels bullied, threatened or uncomfortable when viewing something on Facebook

In another related article, anti-bullying expert Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has recommended that Queensland students must receive a ‘phone licence’ if they wish to take their mobile phones to school. Students would be required to sit a web-based test before being permitted to use their device at school. The advice is that mobile phones are like cars in that people need to be educated and reach a certain level of efficiency to avoid dangerous situations.

Queensland Teachers’ Union president Steve Ryan said the licence idea could help address cyber-bullying.
“Providing it does not cause additional workloads for schools, we’d consider it in the context of a range of recommendations around cyber-bullying by students.”

(AAP, (2011) Phone licences for schoolies? It could happen, viewed 25/10/2011)

There is a robust debate in educational circles about students being allowed to use mobile phones in a learning context. Some schools even allow students to have phones at school at all times, relying on their education and policies to regulate use. Of course, students are not just phoning and texting with their phones. Smart phones allow internet access, which can help students to learn. It can also give them access to content that they cannot access in a home environment.

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Face(book) the Facts

Whilst we have a fantastic cohort of young people attending our College, it would naïve of us to think that there are no Cybersafety or Netiquette issues amongst the student body.  Some recent occurrences have highlighted the fact that the whole College community – students, parents and teachers – need to embrace positive and productive usage of technology both in social and educational settings.

Facebook is a massive phenomenon.  Millions, it not billions of individuals and organisations are using Facebook to stay in touch and promote themselves and their products.  It is so popular because it is effective, easy and fun.  Unfortunately, it is human nature for some misguided individuals to use Facebook for negative purposes, and this is why we have to be vigilant as a College community.

Firstly, it is common knowledge that Facebook is permitted for people of a minimum 13 years of age.  In the Terms section of the site, the official wording says;

‘You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.’

We are aware that there are a number of scenarios that could be related to our College Facebook users:

  1. No Facebook account (for whatever reason)
  1. 13 + years of age with adult permission and supervision
  1. 13 + years of age with a Facebook account without parents’ knowledge
  1. Under 13 years of age with a secret Facebook account hidden from parents
  1. Under 13 years of age with a Facebook account and under constant parental supervision
  1. Under 13 years of age with parental approval for a Facebook account without supervision
  1. Under 13 years of age with parental approval for a Facebook account with irregular supervision
  1. Owner of ‘official’ supervised Facebook account, and an ‘unofficial’ Facebook account hidden from parents

Other scenarios like students maintaining fake Facebook accounts of other people or setting up ‘I hate …’ style Facebook accounts also exist in society.

The official College policy is that no student under the age of 13, as per the legal requirements of the Facebook organisation, should be maintaining a Facebook account.  All parents should be monitoring what their children have displayed on their Facebook pages, and it is College policy that there are no images of students in College uniform to be displayed on any students’ Facebook page.

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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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