Keeping Safe Online

The Directorate is committed to providing state-of-the-art technology and digital learning opportunities for students, which are safe and secure.

Students need to practice their communication and information gathering skills within a secure environment – while still accessing information required for learning in today's world. So whether it's working with the internet or communicating by mobile devices, children should feel safe and not be exposed to inappropriate material.

Our SchoolsNET network provides students with reliable access, which is safe and secure. This includes filtered internet on any device connected to our network, whether it be a school computer or a student's personal electronic device (PED) connected to our WiFi.

Parents and teachers can prepare students by bringing a greater understanding and awareness of safe online behaviours, without students being exposed to the potential hazards online.

Our Partnership with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

Our Partnership with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

The Directorate has partnered with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner to provide schools an enriching digital program aimed to educate our students to be safe online. The program includes a range of virtual classroom events, which are facilitated by the Directorate, The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner presenters and our teachers and students are hosted on our web conferencing platform Adobe Connect.

Virtual Classroom topics on offer include:

  • 'Cyberbullying'
  • 'Being a good bystander'
  • 'Making good choices online'
  • 'Communicating online'
  • 'Secret security business'
  • 'The internet and the law'
  • 'Teacher PD: Digital rights and digital wrongs'
  • 'Teacher PD: Teachers, technology and the law'
  • 'Teacher PD: Tour of the eSafety website'

The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner will help you and your family to find out how to be cybersmart and use the internet safely. The site provides information, publications and resources for students, families and schools.

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner e-Safety brochures and Parent’s guide to online safety publication provides practical information and advice for parents and children. The publications can be located at the Resource Centre - https://esafety.gov.au/about-the-office/resource-centre

Cybersafety Tips for Parents and Families

Parents and carers can help their children make smart choices about what they find online.

To help your children protect themselves you can:

  • Spend time online with your children and check out sites together.
  • Help your children use the Internet as an effective research tool.
  • Learn what young people learn – you need to know about chatting, blogging, message boards, YouTube and social networking.
  • Make your child aware of stranger danger, particularly in chat rooms.
  • Talk to your children about their online experiences both good and bad.
  • Teach your children about dealing with disturbing material and quitting sites.
  • Teach your children that information on the web is not always reliable.
  • Encourage children to treat others on the net the same way they would in real life.
  • Know the best ways of avoiding spam and using filters, labels and safe zones.
  • Encourage your children to be careful about giving out personal details on the internet.

Supervision at Home

  • Place your home computer in a public area of your home, perhaps in the room the family spends most time in and not in the child's bedroom.
  • Talk through internet use with your child and set some boundaries for computer use. Maybe the time of day they are allowed on the internet, how long they spend online, and what happens if they don't follow the guidelines.
  • Supervise your child when they are working online and remind them about sticking to the agreed guidelines.
  • Let your child know you are around when they are working online with some occasional "shoulder-surfing".
  • Stay informed about who your child is communicating with online. Always supervise them when in chatrooms and never allow them to meet up with new online friends without your knowledge.

Most of all, encourage your child to participate in different activities like sports, dancing, even playing outside – and not to be always on the computer, texting or using other communication technology.

Protecting Personal Information

Parents and carers can do a lot to protect their children from inappropriate online material and their personal information:

  • Download free internet content filters to protect your family online.
  • Delete cookies on a regular basis.
  • Select usernames and passwords carefully. Consider the personal information you may be disclosing in a username or email and make sure your password is not something anybody could guess.
  • Avoid scams that can be sent via email, social networking and SMS. Check the SCAMwatch website for information on scams and how to avoid them.
  • Ensure your home computer is protected from viruses and spyware.
  • Ensure your firewall is active and install some parent control software.

More information on protecting personal information can be found at: Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

Google Apps for Education and Google Chrome: Privacy Options

Google has a number of resources available for students and parents to gain more understanding of privacy online, particularly in the use of Google Apps and Google Chrome Browser.

We have also provided links below to simple instructions on how to apply additional settings to better manage privacy in Google Chrome.

Microsoft Office 365 and Internet Explorer: Privacy Options

Microsoft provide information and additional options for students to better manage privacy in Microsoft Office 365 and the Internet Explorer Browser.

Microsoft's approach to privacy, security and transparency with Office 365.

Cyberbullying

Information from the Bullying No Way! Website:

Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

Online bullying can include:

  • sending insulting or threatening messages
  • posting unkind messages or inappropriate images on social networking sites
  • excluding others from online chats or other communication
  • inappropriate image tagging
  • sharing someone's personal or embarrassing information online
  • creating hate sites or starting social exclusion campaigns on social networking sites
  • sharing unflattering or private images, including naked or sexual images
  • assuming the identity of the another person online and representing them in a negative manner or manner that may damage their relationship with others
  • repeatedly, and for no strategic reason, attacking players in online gaming.

For it to be called bullying, inappropriate actions online must be between people who have ongoing contact and be part of a pattern of repeated behaviours (online or offline). One action – such as an insulting comment or an embarrassing photo – which is repeated through sharing and forwarding to others, can be called bullying if the individuals involved know each other, and have ongoing contact either on or offline.

Cyberbullying: Tips for Parents and Carers

Some Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner tips:

  • Talk to your child about cyberbullying before it happens. Work out strategies to address cyberbullying that you are both comfortable with, so your child knows what to expect if they do report concerns to you or another trusted adult.
  • Help your child to develop the skills they need to interact safely and respectfully online. Guide their online activities and help them learn to communicate appropriately with friends and family.
  • Encourage children to treat others on the net the same way they would in real life.
  • Advise your child not to respond to any negative messages and to report any negative messages they receive to you or another trusted adult.
  • Reassure your child that you won't block their access to the internet if they report concerns about cyberbullying. Help them to stay connected online and offline to supportive family and friends.
  • Help your child to block anyone who sends offensive content. Most social networking services allow users to block and report someone who is behaving badly,

The Bullying, No Way! (http://bullyingnoway.gov.au) website and the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner https://esafety.gov.au/about-the-office provide practical information and advice for parents and children.

If you feel that your child may be involved in the bullying of others, there are also resources aimed to help are at https://esafety.gov.au/education-resources which can help you address the issue and support your child's further understanding of safe online behaviours.

Cyberbullying: Seeking Help

If your child has been involved in cyberbullying and seems distressed or shows changes in behaviour or mood, we advise you to contact your child's school and speak to the teacher or year coordinator/ welfare support.

It may also be advised to seek professional support, including through the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner I need help with cyberbulllying page. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying. https://esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying-complaints/i-want-to-report-cyberbullying

Cyberbullying: The School’s Role

The ACT Education Directorate’s Safe and Supportive Schools policy provides guidance to schools on promoting safe, respectful and supportive school environments. Schools are required to have processes and procedures in place to address and prevent bullying, harassment and violence, including cyberbullying. School’s preventative focus includes social and emotional learning approaches and digital citizenship programs that support the development of resilience, critical thinking and social skills.

Just as bullying, harassment or abuse would not be tolerated in the classroom or on the playground; they are similarly not tolerated within online environments. Schools are advised to deal with online breaches of the school’s behaviour policies as they would, had they occurred in the physical environment.

Cyberbullying: I’m still concerned…

If you are still concerned after speaking to the teacher or year coordinator/ welfare support, contact can be made with the school principal to discuss concerns.

If the school’s response is considered unsatisfactory, or external advice is considered necessary about the interventions put in place by the school, parents/ carers can contact:

The ACT Education Directorate Liaison Unit: The Liaison Unit can support families in managing concerns about ACT schools. The Liaison Unit will speak with relevant people within the Directorate’s support office to facilitate the school and family to identify a solution.

Phone: (02) 6205 5429

The Director for Families and Students: The Director provides the key contact for parents, students and the community to raise concerns when they have not been satisfied with the ACT public school response in meeting the needs of individual students.

Phone: (02) 6207 3723
Email: familiesandstudents@act.gov.au

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