​eSafety - A Home and School Responsibility

The staff at Dominic College take eSafety very seriously and part of our role as a school is to teach and inform our children, staff, families, and the wider community about the risks of electronic media, whilst also acknowledging the many benefits that the internet can offer to help student learning and wellbeing.

The e-Safety Commissioner website has been designed by the Australian Government to help families and schools to use education to keep our children safe online. Our Don Bosco Oratory Program and Digital Technologies courses help to teach our students to enjoy using computers to aid their learning, but also help teach our students to keep safe online. By talking to students openly, and in an age specific way, families and the College can work together to ensure that our young people are aware of risks so that they know what to do when they happen. Young people today, both Primary and Secondary students can access the internet in so many ways (smart phones, gaming devices, TVs, laptops, tablets and more). We need to protect our children, as children naturally like to take risks. It is never too early to start talking to your child and keeping lines of communication open. The internet is huge, and technology is fast evolving. At the same time electronic media is an incredible tool, which supports learning and is there to enjoy.

Common risks that families may encounter include:

• exposure to inappropriate content (e.g., age inappropriate material such as games, violence, substance abuse, pornography)

• lifestyle websites (e.g., pro-anorexia, self-harm sites)

• hate sites

• grooming

• cyber-bullying in all forms

• identity theft

• privacy issues, including the disclosure of personal information

• digital footprint and online reputation • health and wellbeing (amount of time spent on the internet/gaming)

• sexting (sending/receiving intimate messages)

• copyright

Age limits for certain websites are there for a reason, they protect children whether they be on social networking sites or on games children play.

There are many things you can do as a family to keep children safe online.

What can we as parents and families do?

Ensure that lines of communication are open with children. Spend time talking to your children, we do not let our children cross the road without educating them first. Do not ban them from the internet if things go wrong, talk to them about it, and how it can be put right and how technology can be used responsibly.

Read some of the links below from the eSafety Commissioner site. There are some useful webinars and tips on what to look out for and how to have conversations with your children. Young people are often ahead of us and use sites we know nothing about. These sites provide practical advice.

Be aware of what your children are looking at and when. Do they have access to the internet in their bedrooms? Are they spending too long on electronic devices when they could be outside having fun or spending time with the family? Make sure that security is in place on all devices – not just your main home computer.

Be aware that age restrictions are there for a reason – it is OK to say NO! The school is keen to support our families regarding eSafety and the sites below will help you to obtain useful and practical information:

eSafety Parents - https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents

Webinars for Parents- https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/webinars

I know that families are aware of this issue, and I encourage you all to spend some time looking at these great resources to help you keep informed so we can all work together to best support our young people in being safe online and allow them to use the benefits of technology responsibly.

Mr Steve Casni

College Principal