eSafety more important than ever

THE rates of cyberbullying, child exploitation and image-based abuse has skyrocketed during COVID-19 lockdowns and National eSmart Week is a timely reminder of how important it is to promote cyber safety at both school and at home.
Principal of Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, Sally Klinge said, “Online safety has always been important, but now with learning from home, it is essential that parents are aware of what their children are doing online.”
She said there are many strategies parents and guardians can use to manage risks at home.
“Online behaviour is about being safe, secure, curious and kind,” she said.
“Parents can set specific times when their children are online and also monitor what their child is doing by not allowing devices to be used in places such as the bedroom.”
Blocking certain websites and having open conversations about online safety are more great ways to keep children safe.
National Centre Against Bullying member and child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is an ambassador of eSmart Week that runs from 6 to 12 September.
He said, “National eSmart Week is the perfect opportunity for communities to share their knowledge and celebrate their work around being smart, safe and responsible when using technology. By creating awareness about cyber safety, bullying and wellbeing, we can reduce online harm.”
This year’s theme ‘Connecting Safely’, acknowledges the important role that technology has played during remote learning.
Mrs Klinge said teaching children and young people about cyber safety is not only about managing the risks associated with the online space, but helping them learn to be respectful in the digital world.
“With social media, it is also about ensuring children are respectful of others in how they use social media,” she said.
“The question to always ask yourself is ‘How would I feel if I received this message?’”
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