Information Technology Upate – June 11, 2015
June 10, 2015
On Monday June 1 the College was lucky enough to have Greg Gebhart from the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) present to the community a series of workshops as part of the CyberSmart program. Greg spoke to all Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 students in the College Gym after lunch in what was a really valuable and thought provoking 60 minute presentation. After school the staff listened to a 75 minute presentation and at 7:00 pm Greg presented to the parents for 90 minutes. The feedback from staff students and parents on these presentations has been overwhelmingly positive and I will certainly be recommending that the College book the ACMA CyberSmart team to revisit the College in the future. Interestingly, the CyberSmart team presents these workshops across Australia and they are so popular that are actually booked out more than 18 months in advance!
Over the next couple of newsletters I will summarise some of the key points to come out of the CyberSmart presentation for those parents who were unable to attend.
Greg started the Parent presentation by highlighting those issues he has found to be of most serious concern to parents, one of which is Cyber Bullying.
It was very interesting to note that according to statistics 21% of year 9 students are cyber bullied. One strategy discussed to combat this alarming statistic is the need for us to educate our young people to be to empowered bystanders. That is if, if a young person is aware of cyber bullying occurring that they play an active role in supporting the victim and by reporting the bullying to an adult. At the student presentation our boys were advised of blocking bullies by using the settings on their smart phones. Greg also highlighted the ability for young people to report any cyber bullying using the self-reporting button on the CyberSmart website at http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/ The boys were also advised of the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 which is available for them to call 24/7.
It was interesting to note that in Greg’s experience many children will not report cyber bullying. One of the reasons for this is they do not believe that schools or parents can make a difference and that they think the problem will escalate if it is reported. Another reason he found many children do not report cyber bullying is for fear of mum and dad removing the device or technology, sometimes known as Nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia). This in fact is a serious situation where in many cases the bullying goes on without any parental or carer knowledge while all the time the child is suffering as the victim. He advised that what is really important is that we as parents and carers create an environment at home where our children fell free to discuss such issues understanding we are there to provide support for them and to seek an effective solution to the problem in such situations rather than our first reaction being to want to punish them or take their technology away.
You may be interested to know that many cyber safety parent resources including those from ACMA have been listed on the College Parent iPad support page at http://ipads.stpats.vic.edu.au/ under the Cyber Safety Resources tab.