Responding to Inappropriate Online Behaviour

At St Raphael’s Primary School, we are committed to ensuring the children in our care have the safest digital learning environments. We live in a rapidly evolving digital world where communication and information are readily accessible online using a variety of technologies and tools.

St. Raphael’s Primary School recognizes that digital technology is an integral part of life. It also plays a role in learning. The school needs to ensure that staff, students and the school community engage in these technologies appropriately, legally and ethically. The school also needs to ensure there are levels of protection of child safety in the use of any technology in the school. Digital technology is used to effectively find, analyse, create, communicate and use the information to enhance staff and student learning and to engage the school community. This includes the use of technology such as email, Internet, phone, mobile device, social media sites, online discussion and chat facilities, copying and printing.

eSmart School

St. Raphael’s is now an accredited eSmart school. This is a whole-school program designed in conjunction with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and The Alannah and Madeline Foundation for Australian schools. It is a comprehensive Cyber Safety Program in which students are expected to meet guidelines. This program continues to develop throughout the year. Students also receive regular direct instruction in cybersafety issues.

Our children have all completed an ICT Acceptable Use Agreement and have discussed and signed this agreement with their parents/ carers. The agreement stipulates the following:

Expected Behaviours whilst using ICT at School and Home

When I use digital technologies I communicate respectfully by:

  • always thinking and checking that what I write or post is polite and respectful
  • being kind to my friends and classmates and thinking about how the things I do or say online might make them feel
  • not sending mean or bullying messages or forwarding them to other people.
  • creating and presenting my own work, and if I copy something from online, letting my audience know by sharing the website link to acknowledge the creator.

When I use digital technologies I protect personal information by being aware that my full name, photo, birthday, address and phone number is personal information and is not to be shared online. This means I:

  • protect my friends’ information in the same way
  • protect my passwords and don’t share them with anyone except my parent
  • only ever join spaces with my parents or teacher’s guidance and permission
  • never answer questions online that ask for my personal information

When I use digital technologies I respect myself and others by thinking about what I share online. This means I:

  • stop to think about what I post or share online
  • use spaces or sites that are appropriate, and if I am not sure I ask a trusted adult or teacher for help
  • protect my friends’ full names, birthdays, school names, addresses and phone numbers
  • because this is their personal information
  • speak to a trusted adult/teacher if I see something that makes me feel upset or if I need help
  • speak to a trusted adult/teacher if someone is unkind to me or if I know someone else is upset or scared
  • don’t deliberately search for something rude or violent
  • turn off or close the screen if I see something I don’t like and tell a trusted adult or teacher
  • am careful with the equipment I use.

At school we/I have:

  • discussed ways to be a safe, responsible and ethical user of digital technologies.
  • presented my ideas around the ways that I can be a smart, safe, responsible and ethical use of digital technologies.

Parent Concerns

If a parent has concerns for their child’s safety and inappropriate online behaviour the school has set up a Google Form link below for parents to complete and submit. This information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and the school will deal with the incident accordingly.

Prior to submitting this information, it is important that parents read the following information from the National Centre Against Bullying.

About one in five school-aged children are cyberbullied in any 12-month period. The effects of this type of bullying on young people today cannot be underestimated. As most houses have multiple online devices, it makes it very hard for a young person to escape the negativity when at home. Below are some practical tips and discussion points that could be had with your children on the topic of cyberbullying.

Responding to cyberbullying

  • Make sure your child is safe. If anyone is in immediate danger or risk of harm, call triple zero (000).
  • Try to stay calm, and get the full story from your child. They may need to go over what happened several times. Reassure them that it’s never OK to be bullied and that they were right to speak up.
  • Explain it’s never a good idea to retaliate against cyberbullying.
  • Collect the evidence. This might involve taking screenshots, printing out material, noting down usernames and websites, and saving texts, pictures, videos etc. Make a note of when and where the cyberbullying happened, and any witnesses.
  • Report the behaviour to the social media service or site provider.
  • If reporting to the site does not get a satisfactory result, consider reporting to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, who has certain powers to investigate, remove content, and offer advice and support. They will need you to provide evidence of what happened.
  • If the child who did the bullying goes to the same school as your child, consider contacting the school and setting up a proper meeting to make a plan for addressing any problems in the future. See below for the process on how to inform the school. Bring your documentation of what happened, and involve the staff who know the students best.
  • Ask your child if they know whether the same thing is happening to others. Encourage them to support their friends and report any cyberbullying to the school if the perpetrator goes there as well.
  • Work with your child to adjust their privacy settings, block other users who bully them, and have a plan for what they will do if something like this happens again.
  • If necessary, connect your child with counselling to help deal with any distress they may be experiencing.

Tips on how to prevent cyberbullying

  • Talk about technology with your children. It’s OK if they know more than you do.
  • Reach an agreement about what acceptable online behaviour looks and feels like and how they will spend time online (e.g. homework, social networking, and gaming). If you and your children have regular conversations about the online world, they’ll be more likely to talk to you if they are harassed or experiencing cyberbullying or if something feels uncomfortable.
  • For young children’s use and safety, it is appropriate to put filters in place, set security to ‘high’ and keep a close eye on what they are doing online. And make sure you set agreements about how much time they can allocate to different activities online.
  • Make sure passwords are changed regularly and kept private even from friends, as friends sometimes become enemies and could use their online accounts in offensive or obnoxious ways. As children become older, supervision needs will diminish as they take responsibility for their own online behaviour.
  • Many children don’t want to talk about how to stop cyberbullying or other negative experiences because they fear their access to technology will be removed. Reassure them this won’t happen. Cyberbullying is serious and not a case of ‘it’s just words. Cyber-attacks have a lasting effect and can distress a child in a variety of ways.
  • Like face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying is also usually a relationship problem that starts off at school but continues out of school hours, often on privately-owned devices. Even when the bullying doesn’t take place during school hours it can create serious problems back at school by affecting students’ feelings of safety, wellbeing and even their academic progress. Dealing with it, therefore, falls within a school’s duty of care.