As parents we spend much of our children’s early years trying to keep them safe. This does not change once they start school, in fact it can become more complex. Not only are we concerned with their physical safety but also their social and emotional safety as they enter a new environment with new opportunities and challenges. One of the challenges for parents and teachers is how to educate children about safety online. Most of us can remember a time before mobile phones and internet when phone calls were often made in the middle of a busy kitchen or family room. For our children, communication with friends is much more immediate and accessible. The draw of the social group becomes stronger as they move through school and the drive to stay constantly connected with peers also becomes stronger. Unfortunately, most of the after hours communication with peers takes place through the various social media platforms available to children. Due to the American Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) the majority of apps require users to be over the age of 13 however children are falsifying their ages to gain access. It is important for parents to be aware of the social media and communication apps and online games that their children are using and to try and become familiar with them. A family discussion is a good starting point. To help parents become more informed we are in the process of securing a Cyber Safety guest speaker to run student and parent workshops in Term Three. In the meantime I have included a link to resources provided by the Commonwealth government. https://esafety.gov.au/ I have also included an article regarding one of the latest games that is increasing in popularity amongst high school aged children.
Mr Donald Thompson
Head of Junior School