Head of Primary

Protecting your daughter’s digital reputation

A poor digital reputation can affect friendships, relationships and even though it seems a long way off for our girls, job prospects. So it is crucial that our students are aware of what picture they are painting of themselves online to protect their digital reputation.

The legal minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13. Research conducted by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner reports that the top five social media services used by children aged between 8-12 years are YouTube (80%), FaceBook (26%), Snapchat (26%), Instagram (24%) and Google (23%). Girls within this age group are most likely to use Instagram and Snapchat. These statistics are alarming.

In the Primary School we took part in a virtual classroom webinar conducted by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner. During the session the girls were able to think about strategies for keeping themselves safe online, understanding their rights as a child for safety, respect and privacy as well as being able to identify behaviours online from adults or older students which are inappropriate or unsafe and to know where to find support when they are being cyberbullied or receiving unwanted contact.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed participating in the webinar by answering questions together as a class online and sharing ideas with other schools around Australia. The Primary School is looking forward to further webinar’s conducted by the e-Safety Commission.

This week, Senior Constable Paterson, the Youth Liaison Officer from Hornsby Police Station and father of Emily in Year 6, came to talk to the Primary girls about Cyber Safety. His presentation covered topics such as how young people are using technology to have fun online, online grooming, cyber-bullying, inappropriate content and e-security.

Here are his top 10 tips for staying safe on the internet:

  1. Use a strong password, a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, eg P@$$w0rd! and change it regularly.
  2. Avoid opening or clicking links in emails from people you do not know and aren’t expecting – they could contain a virus or malicious software.
  3. Don’t give out personal information over the internet or on mobile phones about you, your family and friends.
  4. Only accept friend requests from people you know and trust.
  5. Make sure your social media accounts are set to private or friends only. Check privacy settings regularly as they can change.
  6. Be aware of how to block, report and delete users on all your accounts and apps.
  7. If an image or post is something you would not be comfortable sharing with your parents or grandparents, reconsider, the internet never forgets.
  8. Be careful who you trust online. Making new friends can be fun, but there’s a chance that they may not be who they say they are.
  9. Never say nasty or untrue things about others.

As a community we educate the girls about the risks and challenges of using technology but we shouldn’t lose sight of the enormous positives of the online world and the great benefits it can provide. It’s an exciting time to be growing up, with so much potential to create, connect and communicate. Helping our girls to stay safe and become good digital citizens is key to making sure they get the best out of the online world.

Mrs Maryanne Dwyer