Digital Wellbeing

Chris Ivey / Wellbeing

We are setting up habits and expectations of turning to a device for entertainment that will be harder to control when more challenging and serious issues arise, such as what we are seeing right now.

21 May 2021

As a College, our commitment to digital safety and wellbeing is incredibly important. We have a digital wellbeing committee whose purpose is to ensure we are at the forefront of what is happening in the digital space; however, we acknowledge that we need to be working in partnership with the home because so often this is actually where a good deal of time (and perhaps more) is spent on screens!

Our aim as always, is to bring information to your attention so that as parents you can act with some level of knowledge, confidence and in partnership with the College. This to me is the key. We can not work in isolation on these matters and more importantly we cannot work in opposition either.  As tough as it may sound, and it can be very difficult, parents need to step up in this realm of digital wellbeing. There is no other way around it. All parents should adopt the simple yet accurate realities that you are the adult, it is your house, your Wi-Fi, your rules and in most cases you pay for the device!

At this point, some of our lower primary parents may reflect – “this doesn’t affect me”; however it does. There is a definite knock on effect when we allow our children unsupervised or excess time on their device, particularly at a young age. We are setting up habits and expectations of turning to a device for entertainment that will be harder to control when more challenging and serious issues arise, such as what we are seeing right now. One new trend we are seeing that we felt we should bring to your attention is around crypto currency. 

Our Director of Knowledge Services has shared his concerns and he has compiled some information from both the ISQ (Independent School’s Queensland) and from forum posts.  Essentially the concerns are around the addictive nature of what is happening but more importantly, the access potential on-line predators have through these websites.

  • An increase in student interest in crypto and the general consensus is that this is due to the increase of social media influences promoting crypto as a way to make good money.
  • There are increasing issues with young people and sleep given that crypto trading never stops. Given the traditional stock market has open and close times, crypto is 24/7. This concern of course also applies to many gaming sites.
  • Barney Tan from the University of Sydney Business School said the popularity of electronic currencies such as bitcoin was fuelled by speculation, opportunism and a “bandwagon” effect. Associate Professor Tan said teenagers were trading in cryptocurrencies at an “unprecedented”  scale and the broader implications of their participation was not fully understood. Teenagers tended to be prone to thrill-seeking and may be exploited or manipulated into making bad trades, he said. “Teenagers today are probably more savvy and sophisticated because of the sheer amount of information that they have access to,” he said. “But at the same time, they may be more impressionable, so there should definitely be oversight over their trading activities to prevent potential exploitation or manipulation.” 
  • Sadly, getting an account for a minor is very simple and mostly done on mobile applications. 
  • There are some major privacy concerns around the data that crypto wallet and trading apps are collecting, including access to camera role, location and contacts.
  • Significant concerns around student focus being impacted given the volatility and constant movement of these financial products. With live access to the market from all digital devices, some staff indicated that a number of students in a senior class started stressing as they were getting notifications from various apps that the crypto market was crashing. For those parents who live and breathe this, we (hopefully) have the maturity to manage the emotions that accompany these experiences; however, we need to be mindful that students are being caught up in the frenzy without the support and structure to help rationalise when things don’t turn out the way they should.
  • Scams. Updates as recent as this morning from moneysmart.gov.au are highlighting an increasing number of crypto scams. At this stage, the platforms where you buy and sell cryptocurrencies and ICOs are not regulated. You are not protected if the platform fails or is hacked.
  • And like all things where students become a little obsessed, the chatter with peers and peer pressure to get into this crypto currency with little knowledge or research is high.

The simple suggestion here is to talk. If you are concerned, have an open conversation with your child about what they are doing and perhaps why. Explain the challenges, the concerns and the risk. Of course, we acknowledge that there are parents who operate very successfully in this form of financial trading and that it is building legitimacy. What we as parents and educators need to establish is how do we help our adolescents navigate this and so many other aspects of social media given they are often oblivious to the possible consequences of their actions.

If you feel you need some support in this area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, Head of Year, or Mr Brett Moller, our Director of Knowledge Services.

Our aim is to support and work in partnership with parents. When we become aware of something we believe is going to impact the development and wellbeing of our students we will let you know; but we also acknowledge that parents have an incredibly crucial role to play as well.

Best wishes


Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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