From safety to digital citizenship

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has recently changed its tack with regards to their philosophy. CEO Judith Slocombe explains

We are moving from an emphasis on ‘safety’ towards an emphasis on ‘digital citizenship’;  citizenship as idealised by the ancient Greeks, where obligations to the community were seen as a source of honour and respect. This view of citizenry empowers its participants to be an ever-present, positive force.

For the ACMA, positive engagement is at the heart of digital citizenship, and similarly this is one of the core philosophies underpinning Alannah and Madeline’s, eSmart framework. Without positive engagement in a whole-of-society, behaviour-change approach, we are merely left with rules to follow, lines not to cross, and empty good intentions.

A culture embedded with positive values and high levels of engagement is inspiring. It will naturally foster conscious and informed decision-making (‘Choose Consciously’) and healthy appetites for finding out more about the world (‘Know your online world’).

This is an interesting change that acknowledges the need for our children to know how to navigate and contribute positively to the online world. Read the whole post here.

Parents are over confident about internet safety

US author, educator and consultant Jeff Utecht has written an interesting post on how parents are dealing with the issues social media are bringing to the family home. He quotes the UK newspaper The Guardian:

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, said sexting – where schoolchildren are encouraged to take explicit photographs of themselves and send to other pupils – was a problem in most schools, despite the study revealing that 89% of parents believe their child has not been touched by cyberbullying or sexting.

“There is a disconnect between how safe parents think they can keep their children online and their actual ability to do that,” Phippen said. “Those conversations are not being had – we have a hell of a long way to go on internet safety. In schools we hear teachers unwilling to talk to teenagers about sexual images because they worry about their jobs, schools unwilling to record instances of cyberbulling because they are worried about their Ofsted reports.”

These statistics are of grave concern and demand us all to delve deeper into the way our children are using the internet. Read the whole blog post here.

I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook

Last week, Mashable published this post on the waning appeal of Facebook by a New York teenager.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.

Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.

An interesting insight into teenagers’ thoughts about social media. Read the whole post here.

NetSafe by NetBasics

NetSafe by NetBasics is a fun site to help teach parents and their children about how to use the internet safely. A series of short videos following the animated Jones family outlines tips on:

  • dangerous downloads
  • firewall protection
  • phishing and fake websites
  • password protection
  • staying safe online
  • updating security
  • backing up data

This educational site from New Zealand is produced by the ‘agents of choice’ of the New Zealand Ministry of Education. It is certainly a lighthearted way to learn about safely using the internet.

Parents’ and carers’ guide to the internet

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (which is a part of the police force in the United Kingdom) has developed a video resource for parents and carers.

The Parents’ and Carers’ Guide to the Internet’, from CEOP, is a light hearted and realistic look at what it takes to be a better online parent. The show covers topics such as, talking to your child about the technologies they use and the things they might see, such as pornography.

Girls switched on to social pitfalls

The Sunday Age has reported on two 12 year old girls who have social media accounts, but are well aware of the pitfalls they can face:

”Basically, I don’t post anything that I don’t want my parents to see,” said Georgia, who admitted her parents check her Skype, Instagram and Kick about once a month.

Eve, who uses Skype and iMessage, says her parents trust her not to accept requests from strangers. And the information she posts online is unlikely to reveal too much about her private life. ”It’s really important not to give too much information about yourself away.”

This is great advice for all parents and their children. Read the whole article here.

Digital citizens’ guide

The Australian Communications and Media Authority‘s website Cybersmart has developed and published new cybersmart material for Australians. Looking at how our online behaviours affect us and our networks, the following video and accompanying resources encourage us to relate positively in all our online communications.

Anonymous vs appropriate

George Couros, a Canadian Division Principal, has written a blog post responding to some of the statistics revealed by the 2013 Pew Report.

The statistics he reports are:

  • 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006.
  • 71% post their school name, up from 49%.
  • 71% post the city or town where they live, up from 61%.
  • 53% post their email address, up from 29%.
  • 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%.

In addition to the trend questions, we also asked five new questions about the profile teens use most often and found that among teen social media users:

  • 92% post their real name to the profile they use most often.2
  • 84% post their interests, such as movies, music, or books they like.
  • 82% post their birth date.
  • 62% post their relationship status.
  • 24% post videos of themselves.

What Couros questions is the push from some schools and parents for students to remain anonymous on the net. As this is obviously not happening, Couros suggests that perhaps we should be teaching our young adults (and children) to post appropriately. A good digital footprint will soon replace a curriculum vitae (if that’s not already the case).

Manners matter

This useful infographic was developed by Know the Net, a UK site that

is an impartial website that helps individuals, families and businesses get the most out of the internet. It is funded by Nominet– the not-for-profit organisation – as part of its commitment to making the internet a more trusted space for everyone who uses it.

We aim to offer some of the most reliable and accessible, impartial advice to help you make the most of the internet and keep you, your family, and your business (if you have one), stay safe and secure online.


Knowthenet presents Manners Matter

Knowthenet presents Manners Matter the online Netiquette Do’s and Don’ts infographic.

Bullying and cyberbullying interactive learning modules for parents

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has developed online interactive learning modules for parents that focus on bullying and cyberbullying.

The bullying and cyberbullying module

developed in partnership with Andrew Fuller, (clinical psychologist and student wellbeing specialist), has been developed to help parents understand, recognise and manage bullying and cyberbullying behaviours.

The cybersafety and social media module

developed in partnership with Susan McLean (cybersafety expert), has been developed to help parents address standards of behaviour in the context of cybersafety and social media.

Two excellent resources for parents.