Kalamunda Christian School parents equipped with cyber safety pointers after seminar


Kalamunda Christian School parents listen to cyber expert Shane McGurk.
Kalamunda Christian School parents listen to cyber expert Shane McGurk.

PARENTS of Kalamunda Christian School students recently attended a seminar to gain skills and knowledge they need to help their child safely navigate the digital world.

Principal Michelle Cockrell said digital technology was part of the Australian Curriculum so the June 8 seminar helped parents manage online learning.

“There are so many wonderful online tools for education that can really transform learning in classrooms and education at home,” she said.

“We want to equip our parents so that they can put structures in place to ensure the online environment remains safe and fun.”

Experts from two digital consultancies presented at the workshop, which gave an insight into the online environment.

Kim Maslin, founder of 3103 Communications, said children were using technology for communication, entertainment and learning.

Online risks include cyber bullying, sexting, oversharing, viewing inappropriate content, scams and viruses, and online predators.

She suggested strategies for keeping children safe centred around communication, education and monitoring their activity.

Specific safety tips include keeping devices out of bedrooms, encouraging them to only befriend people they know in real life, teaching not to click on suspicious links and having a family online contract.

“I encourage all parents to create a family social media contract,” Miss Maslin said.

“This is a formal, written agreement decided on by parents and children together, that outlines the rules both parties will follow when it comes to using digital devices and the internet.

“It is a great cyber safety starting point for families, as it encourages open discussion between parents and children and will make enforcing the rules less of a challenge, as the children have helped to develop it.”

Next Learning co-founder and director Shane McGurk advised parents to get involved with their child’s digital journey and to put parameters in place.

“Although there can be concern and negativity about our children being online, we need to remember how necessary these computer related skills are for their future,” he said.

“To do well as a nation, we need our kids to skilled in technology.”

Parents asked many questions, including Christie van der Beeke who said she left with strategies to put in place at home.

“As a parent, you know that your children are at risk in the online space, however there are so many conflicting views about what you can do to best protect them,” she said.