STAYING SAFE ONLINE

Who could argue with the modern boy’s desire to be constantly online and connected with the world? The internet has revolutionized the way we share our ideas and experiences, buy and sell goods, develop new knowledge and meet new people. Despite these advantages, the internet is not a newly developed child’s playground where our boys can be left alone to play and explore for themselves.

Like our own daily lives, technology plays an increasing role in the teaching and learning programmes we offer our students at Wellesley College. We acknowledge that as well as the many benefits, technology also opens doors to anti-social, inappropriate, and even illegal, material and activities to be accessed online.

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As digital natives, many of our children have a superior knowledge of the social media and online sites than their parents and teachers alike. As adults, it can be hard to keep up with the latest apps that our kids are using. Just when you’ve figured out how to talk to your kids about Facebook, they’ve moved on to Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp or Kik. Luckily for us we don’t need to be experts in everything. Even when new apps come along, adding new features such as the ability to disappear or track your location, they’re often not that different from previously popular social media apps so if you know what to look for, you can help your child avoid some common social media pitfalls such as drama, cyberbullying, and oversharing.

Wellesley College encourages responsible behaviour by students when using technology to help protect themselves and each other from experiencing harm online. There is an expectation that school email accounts will not be used to sign up for, or create, inappropriate or illegal, material or activities online.

During the schoolday, we use filtering software to restrict access to certain sites and applications when connected to the school domain. Unfortunately, we are unable to control what our student’s access beyond the school gates. We are aware that students can experience challenges when using technology outside of the school network and make every effort to support students to manage those challenges effectively if they arise. We believe that learning to deal with these challenges in a safe environment with the appropriate support will better prepare them to deal with any challenges they face in the future.

In recent years, internet safety has moved from protecting people and organisations to giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to maximise online opportunities. At Wellesley College we work hard to ensure that our students are safe and secure in these practices by increasing their capability as participants in a digital society.

As parents you can assist us in making effective ‘digital citizens’ by talking specifically with your boy about using social media safely, responsibly, and respectfully. Unsure where to start? The following websites provide great information on keeping your children safe in online environments:

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/advice/parenting/

http://www.kidspot.co.nz/subsection+490+Tweens-to-teens-For-parents.htm

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