Navigating Digital Wellbeing at St Andrew's

Lauren Stanhope / Insights, Academic

05 February 2024

Recently I found myself engaged in a conversation with fellow parents at a birthday party, where our discussions naturally gravitated towards the topic of digital devices. Concerns were voiced about the amount of time our children spent on screens and the subsequent impact on their mood, social interactions, and overall wellbeing. The shared apprehensions were valid, and various strategies for managing screen time were exchanged.

Last week, ySafe - Australia’s Leading Cyber Safety Educators - presented to both parents and each year level from Year 1 to Year 12. In contrast to the negative focus on screen time, ySafe covered a broader spectrum of topics, all geared towards navigating the online world.

The focus looks at a comprehensive approach to wellbeing and equipping parent and students with resources and an understanding of what it means to be a digital citizen.

The ySafe presenters addressed students from Year 1 to 12, covering various crucial topics as listed below. As a parent, how familiar are you with these subjects?

Year 1 and 2

  • Personal Private information

Year 3 and 4

  • Online gaming and interactions with strangers, with a particular focus on strategies hackers use on platforms such as roblox

Year 5 and 6

  • Cyber Bullying and & bystander empowerment

Year 7 and 8

  • Managing toxic online behaviours
  • Striking a balance between digital and offline experiences

Year 9 and 10

  • Sexting and the law

Year 11 and 12

  • Digital Footprint & employability
  • Cyber slavery
  • Sexism within the gaming world

In late 2023, QUT released research on cyber education in Australian schools, which is particularly relevant to us at St Andrew's, given our significant contribution to the dataset through research participation. A key finding highlighted that while external presentations play a role in educating young people about digital wellbeing, they don't replace the importance of trusted adults sharing information and fostering open communication. From an education perspective, ySafe is one element of our comprehensive digital wellbeing education program, complementing a Digital Citizenship Curriculum. These lessons are delivered by classroom teachers (Primary) and mentor teachers (Secondary) to ensure students feel safe and secure knowing that this is a person they can speak to about concerns or seek guidance from. The recently reviewed Digital Device Agreement serves as the third element of our program, providing a reference point for both teachers and students on responsible behaviour, academic considerations, and device care and usage.

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Ultimately, effective communication is crucial for both parents and teachers in supporting students as they navigate the online world. It plays a pivotal role in fostering a collaborative and supportive environment, especially in the realm of digital education, where technology seamlessly integrates into the learning experience. Regular and transparent communication ensures that parents are well-informed about the digital tools and platforms used in their children's education, enabling active participation in their online learning journey. This collaborative approach empowers parents and teachers to instil responsible digital citizenship, address concerns promptly, and create a safe online environment that promotes optimal learning outcomes for our children.

Author Profile

Lauren Stanhope

Head of Digital Pedagogy

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