INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
It is our intention for all young people in the McKinnon community to feel happy, supported and cared for. We would also like our students to be responsible young men and women who care about others. However, communication through social media and mobile phones presents challenges and risks for adolescents. We expect the school’s core values of respect and integrity to be reflected in every aspect of our students’ lives in and out of school, and this extends to their electronic communication with others. Students harassing, bullying or in any way mistreating other students (even if it occurs outside school hours) is not tolerated at McKinnon Secondary College.
Please take the time to discuss safe and responsible use of the internet and mobile phones with your children. I hope the points outlined below and the links that follow assist you to have a constructive conversation in your family about the safe use of electronic media.
10 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PARENTS:1. Encourage students to use internet-connected devices (such as computers, iPhones, etc) in common parts of the house – not in their bedroom.
Monitor your children’s use of the internet – walk past the computer to see which sites they are visiting and ask them what they’re doing.
2.Teach children that information, photos, etc shared on the internet can never be deleted or retrieved.
Once information is posted, your child loses control over where that information goes. Words and pictures intended for a small audience may unexpectedly be seen by a very large audience.
3.Explain to your child that communication via the internet is public. Students have no idea who may be reading or viewing the material they post online. Ask your child to consider:
a. Are they placing themselves at risk? Some people do use the internet to cause harm to young people. Are they disclosing personal information that identifies them? Are they placing your family at risk?
b. How does their online communication affect the reputation of other people?
c. How does their online communication affect their own reputation? How will other people see them, based on the words and images they post online?
4. Be aware that many young people who have been harassed online will not voluntarily tell you this has occurred.
Encourage your child to openly discuss what they do online.
5.Young people need to be cautious about whom they communicate with online.
A ‘friend’ they make on Facebook, a person chatting on MSN or another online game-player may not be who they say they are. Some adults steal or fabricate identities to build a relationship with young people online, with the intention of then causing harm to that child. Sadly, online grooming by predatory adults is an increasing problem in society – children must be aware of this risk.
6. Taking away children’s access to the internet will not solve issues of harassment and loss of privacy.
Online communication will be a feature of our children’s lives – we must educate them to use the internet safely and responsibly.
7.Mobile phones can be used to harass young people and send inappropriate or sexual content.It is imperative that you discuss with your child that messages and images sent via mobile phone can quickly be distributed to a much wider audience than they ever intended.
8.Harassment of others via the internet and mobile phones is a criminal offence. Likewise, young people sending sexually explicit material via the internet and their mobile phones may also be committing a criminal offence – even if they consent to that material being sent in the first place. Young people must be reminded that their electronic communication is in the public domain, and is therefore subject to the laws that govern all of us.
9. Discuss with your child the need to be kind and respectful to all people in all forms of communication. The distance and anonymity of internet and SMS communication can sometimes result in young people saying things they wouldn’t say face-to-face. Cyber-bullying is unkind and offensive, and is not tolerated at McKinnon Secondary College.
10. Ensure that electronic communication does not interfere with your child’s studies and sleeping patterns. Upon completing Year 12, many students freely admit that time spent on Facebook distracted them from their studies. Many also admit to staying up too late communicating with friends via SMS. Studies have recently found that many adolescents are struggling at school because they have not slept enough – some teenagers have their sleep severely interrupted by receiving and responding to SMS messages throughout the night. Discuss possible strategies with your child to avoid these interruptions and loss of sleep and study time; some students go so far as asking their parents to change their Facebook password, so they can only use Facebook when their parents log them in!
LINK TO AN INFORMATIVE VIDEO:The Australian Media & Communications Authority (ACMA) has prepared videos for parents about cyber-safety issues. Please take the time to watch some of the videos at this website.
LINKS TO WHOM TO CONTACT FOR ADVICE & ASSISTANCE:ACMA also provide more information for parents: