In 2018, all schools need to be aware of bullying whether it’s in the schoolyard or online. This is especially relevant for boarding schools, where many rural, regional and remote students spend their school terms. We have compiled the following tips for schools, to help keep our kids safe online during their time there:
• ESTABLISH VERY CLEAR RULES AROUND THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA and communicate these to staff, students and parents. Be aware of age restrictions on social media sites.
• ESTABLISH (and enforce) CLEAR CONSEQUENCES for social media bullies.
• IDENTIFY CYBER SAFETY OFFICER/S within staff – someone (or multiple people) students can approach, if they are having SM bullying issues. Students must understand what they can do, and where they can go, when bullying takes place. They also need to be able to access this assistance privately.
• ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE use of ANONYMOUS APPS (help educate kids on identifying dangerous & unsafe apps, check which apps to avoid here)
• Maintain ONGOING DIALOGUE with students around GOOD v BAD social media use. Some questions that might be visited: What is new in the SM space? What is feedback from Cyber Safety officers? What is appropriate behaviour?
• Ensure STAFF ARE TRAINED TO DETECT (and take appropriate, proactive measures) when students show signs of mental health issues
• CONSIDER engaging cyber safety experts to talk to staff and students (e.g. of info available here & here)
• CONSIDER HOSTING WORKSHOPS on Introduction to Social Media (for parents)
• BECOME FAMILIAR WITH MONITORING APPS (as discussed on Parents Tips and Tools page) to share with parents, to assist them fulfil their role in keeping their children safe online.
• TAKE A LOOK AT STYMIE , a site that allows bystanders to send anonymous notifications to Your School, about someone who they believe is being bullied or harmed.
Resources and further reading: Kids Helpline, Rural Resources, PC Mag WEB monitoring, PC Mag PHONE monitoring, Skymesh 6 Simple Tips, QCL Boarding School bullying article, The Cyber Safety Lady, Susan Mclean Cyber Safety Solutions, Rebecca Sparrow: Before You Hit Send ,
Disclaimer: BIRRR are not specialists in this area, and you are encouraged to read widely on this topic if you have primary or secondary age children.