Susan McLean presents on cyber safety at Elsternwick PS.

Last week as part of Education Week we held our second parent and teacher forum on cyber safety. The presenter for this session was Susan McLean.

We had 50 parents attend Susan’s presentation and this combined with the first cyber safety session earlier in the term means about 20% of our parent community have become more informed on the issues surrounding cyber safety this year. Not a bad start.

The messages are clear that technology is a good thing but there are dangers we need to be aware of so that we can help our going people be safer when using the Internet.

I have copied the 60 minute clip above which features Susan speaking more specifically on “sexting”. This may be useful for parents with younger girls and teenagers.

The Generation Next website was posted a clip interviewing Susan last week. This clip talks about the school parent partnership and I think reinforces our practices at school that when cyber bullying is reported to schools we take action – even when it’s reported to have happened in the home.

We spend some time investigating the incident and then use our normal restorative practices so that the perpetrator learns about the effects that they are having on the victim and looks to mend that relationship in an empathic and real way. These processes work where there is an acceptance of wrong doing and empathy shown towards others – and it STOPS.

However I must say that sometimes it doesn’t work e.g. when parents block or deny wrong doing or join in the activity or the perpetrator doesn’t accept wrong doing or lacks empathy. In these cases given there are laws against cyber bullying and Susan encourages schools to report these incidents to the police.

Most parents are shocked to learn this but I must say we have been close to and perhaps should have taken this action ourselves for a young person and their family.

One of our Assistant Principals at the start of each year takes special cyber safety lessons for all Year 3-6 classes.

I do encourage parents and educators to have a look at one or both clips and join in the discussion after all it takes a community approach to make this space safe for all.

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