Information Technology Update – June 07, 2018

June 6, 2018

Balancing protection with education when it comes to children and technology on Life

A recent episode of Life Matters on ABC Radio National had Cyber Safety experts Susan Mclean and Dr Michael Salter discuss the dilemma parents and schools face in balancing protection with education when students go online. Susan McLean is an ex-Victoria Police Officer and now a Cyber Security Expert and Dr Michael Salter is a Criminologist and a Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University. Both McLean and Salter had valuable advice on this matter that would be useful to all schools and parents dealing with young people and the use of technology.

Salter points out that while we can sometimes be very alarmist about our children going online, we need to be aware that both positive and negative aspects of a child’s life can also be affirmed or enhanced by posts online. He goes on to say that parents need to craft online safety strategies that empower their children with what they need to negotiate the internet because it is going to be a huge part of their future. And while it is important to reduce risk for our children, he feels it is also important to not overly alarm parents and that we need to keep that balance where we can keep our children safe online but also allow them to develop the skills they are going to need in the 21st century.

Susan McLean’s central message to students is “Its cool to follow the rules”. Here she refers to rules and guidelines about going online that children are aware of at school and in the community generally. McLean tells the children she speaks to that it is all about respect and responsibility, to think before you do something online -“ posting something, liking something etc.

McLean teaches students about follow the three Rs

  • Respect

  • Responsible

  • Reputation

Before doing anything online she gets students to ask themselves:

  • Is this showing respect to someone?
  • Is this a responsible use of technology?

  • Will this damage my reputation?

With regards a young person damaging their reputation, McLean tells students she is not only referring to when they want a job in 10 years’ time but also about the opportunities they will have along the way, even in the immediate future. Those opportunities you are going to want, you don’t even know about yet, but that someone will have to make a decision about you and they will look you up online first.

So what can parents do? McLean recommends that parents start early with laying the foundation of good online practise with their children. She talks about the importance of setting the rules, guidelines and expectations very early which makes it easy when they get into their teenage years. She talks about -Good habits are hard to break.- McLean recommends parents talk to their children and instil a sense of respect in them. She also says that with children going online, things are going to go wrong but you need to build with your children a sense where they feel comfortable that they can come to you when things go wrong.

I have gathered some excellent resources here you can use with your children including family rules, internet contracts and guidelines as well as other resources on the ICT Devices @ St Pats’ parent support page here:

Creating Parent access to App4 on student Notebook

App4 is the College eDiary used by teachers and students and parents are also able to access their son’s eDiary to view their Homework and Assignments. This can be done in several ways:

There is more information on App4 at the parent ICT support web site here: