Keeping Students Safe Online – Resources and Tips for Parents

Keeping students safe in an online world is an ongoing challenge but schools and parents are taking proactive steps to ensure security and peace of mind.

NEWS 21 Jul 2022

“We want all young people to be safe online, no matter what their age, gender, cultural background, or class.”

“We want an internet that is non-judgemental, safe and inclusive, where young people can connect with each other, express and learn about themselves, and explore the world they live in.”

“We want to be taught how and why the internet works from a young age and to learn the skills to keep us safe online.”

“We want the adults in our lives – caregivers, teachers, community leaders, governments and businesses – to ensure that we aren’t unjustly exposed to danger and to support us to be safe online.” Young and Resilient Research Centre, Western Sydney University.

These recent insights from Western Sydney University research have helped form a ‘youth aspirational statement’ that highlights the kind of support young people need when they navigate the online world.


What young people are asking for

They want more online safety education, tools and resources to help them address key issues — from cyberbullying and image-based abuse to unwanted or unsafe contact, scams and sexting.

They also want clear guidelines about who to approach for help when things go wrong, and they want their parents, teachers and trusted adults to educate themselves about life online so they can give young people accurate advice when they need it.

Building on this research, an Online Safety Youth Advisory Council has been established that will see young people aged 13 to 24 work with the eSafety Commissioner to figure out new policies and programs to keep young people safe online.

“Australia is at the forefront of a global movement seeking to revolutionise the way we build, use and interact with technology so that online safety is a primary consideration, not an afterthought.”
eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant

SCROLL - Take control of your feed

The research has also led to the launch of a new youth-led campaign, called SCROLL, that has been developed by the eSafety Commissioner in partnership with young Generation Z designers to help young people take control of information presented to them online.

SCROLL is being rolled out across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. It features real stories of how young people can protect themselves, where to get help and how to support friends who may get in to trouble online.

All these initiatives are part of an ongoing push to improve and enhance online safety and educators and schools like Haileybury are keenly monitoring every technological advance and opportunity to promote safe internet use.

As a portal to a wider world and to rich and diverse experiences, the internet is a fundamental educational tool and teachers and parents are working together to ensure that learning experiences for young people are positive and productive.

Following approval by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), Haileybury Pangea will become the first private school in Australia to offer an online education from Years 5 to 12.

Online safety is a key pillar of the Haileybury Pangea model with a wellbeing program, a student code of conduct, acceptable use policies and the ability to view the way students interact with data when online.


Online safety tips for parents

For parents, a raft of resources are available worldwide to help them keep young people safe, and stay up-to-date with the latest issues and strategies to support children online.

Dr Tom Harrison, a Reader in Education at the University of Birmingham in the UK, encourages schools and parents to foster ‘cyber-wisdom’, based on what he calls the REACT model.


R E A C T

R is for ground rules – set rules about when children can access the internet, how long for and for what purpose.

E is for exemplar – model the kind of online behaviour and habits you want your child to follow.

A is for advisor – be a partner and coach in your child’s online learning experience.

C is for character – talk about testing times that happen online, how that makes them feel and what they feel the best plan of action is.

T is for thrive - if you can encourage all the above, your child will have cyber-wisdom and thrive in the digital world.