College Wellbeing at St Andrew's

It’s worth zooming in on the + pillar in the PERMA+ model of wellbeing.  At St. Andrew’s, we include optimism, nutrition, sleep, physical activity and digital wellbeing within this component.  In the coming weeks, Wavelength articles will look at each of these in turn, unpack what they mean and how it applies to our College Community.  This week, we will focus on Digital Wellbeing.

This year, we have taken on the term Digital Wellbeing over the term Cyber Safety.  This is an intentional signal to our community that both acknowledges the potential risks using devices and digital technologies can bring, but also seeks to champion the positive benefits online environments can bring to the development of our wellbeing.  It is also a step away from a fear driven model and instead looks at the responsible and ethical use of technology, keeping abreast of great changes and developments and harnessing them for the powers of good they can provide us.

So many of us are accessing apps and programs that support our development of positive habits, increased physical activity, help monitor our nutrition, support us to meditate and be mindful, and even connect us to latest relevant research we can use to make informed decisions about our lifestyle and health. The power of connectivity alone is immense, given the imperative to connect with other people and nourish positive relationships across our life span.  As our children develop their digital identities the following capacities move us beyond thinking within the realm of safety alone:

Digital Wellbeing is 'the capacity to look after personal health, safety, relationships and work-life balance in digital settings.’

This includes:

◾Using personal digital data for positive wellbeing benefits

◾Using digital media to foster community actions and wellbeing

◾Acting safely and responsibly in digital environments

◾Managing digital stress, workload and distraction

◾Acting with concern for the human and natural environment when using digital tools

◾Balancing digital with real-world interactions appropriately

                                                                                                                                       JISC (2015)

It is important to note that we acknowledge the significant component cyber safety plays in the development of digital wellbeing.  We are fortunate to be part of the Cyber Safety Network Group within the Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) and work with Steven Window and his colleagues to implement and develop resources, learning content for both students and teachers, as well as feed back information of what’s happening ‘on the ground’ to the E-Safety commissioner for QLD. This year, we will have access to the ASC’s resources that will put into place a flow chart for the investigation of incidents of cyber-bullying. This tool will complement our current policies and practices and will support staff to make timely decisions when responding to incidents.  There will also be a range of teaching and learning resources we will be able to access, as well as parent resources we will be able to make available so that you too can work to ensure the safety of your children in online environments.  As these resources become available, we will pass them on and look forward to your feedback about their effectiveness and use within your family.

One thing we can all make change on immediately is to re-think who our friends and followers are on-line.  It is worth remembering that even if we have our privacy settings turned on, we don’t know what others will do with our posts.  They can be copied and re-posted elsewhere. The term privacy can lead is into a false sense of security so it’s worth pausing to stop and think before posting anything online, regardless of the settings we have switched on or off in our Apps!