Deputy principals regularly deal with conflicts that arise from misuse of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

There are countless useful sites about cybersafety and you are likely to already have many of these in your favourites, like CybersmartThe Alannah and Madeline Foundation and Click.

A great resource to assist your school with the important task of educating students to play safely in an online world is the Manager of the Department’s Web Filter Unit, Elaine Talbert‘s Delicious tags. Elaine has collected and tagged a wealth of sites, showing us how Delicious can be effectively employed.

 

STRATEGY

The more informed and positive the whole community conversation at your school is, the more likely students are to become good digital citizens. It is important that students are not tarred as irresponsible and poor digital citizens in general conversation. This will only lead to more inappropriate usage. Most, of course, do the right thing.

A few ideas:

1. Talk positively about the ‘good digital citizenship’ of students at the school, especially of Year 10 who have the laptops, explaining what this actually means. If the school frames the conversation positively it allows misdemeanours to be the exception rather than the rule. Give the students real narratives of ‘how’ a peer dealt with a cybersafety issue, as this will assist others to ‘know’ what to do when a challenge arises in their online world.

2. Run parent information sessions that give positive strategies for managing student usage at home. Do not spread fear and anxiety but concrete strategies for cybersafety. For example, screens are best located in shared areas of the house not isolated in bedrooms.

3. Have a clear school policy on the actions and steps students and parents take to address issues of cyberbullying and regularly publish in the school newsletter and other forums.

4. Celebrate the students savvy use of technology whenever possible to build a positive atmosphere. Praise their sensible use of mobile devices.

5. Educate the staff about bluetooth, 3G access to the internet from mobile devices, social networking and the school’s policies.

There are many other strategies and ideas that you use at your school. Please share links and ideas by making a comment here at our blog.

For example, this teacher has made a useful blog post about their experiences, with useful links here.

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