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Healthy Digital Habits For Learning at Home

Whether through choice or family circumstances, an increasing number of students are staying home due to the impacts of COVID-19. It is a worrying time, with implications for personal wellbeing right through to international stability.

With the possibility of your daughter spending increased amounts of time at home on her device, the eSafety Commissioner has developed a virtual safety kit resource, with evidence-based suggestions and trustworthy links to help parents. There is a wide range of advice for parents, covering common online safety issues like managing screen time, peer-to-peer relationships, inappropriate content, and contact from strangers.

Take the opportunity to talk about technology boundaries with your daughter. While she will require access to her emails and Minerva content, it is not an expectation that students will use their laptop for the entire day. If possible, it can be helpful to have one hour of screen time, with one hour of green-time and perhaps consider ‘no-screen nights’ when spending time together as a family.

Parental controls can help block your child from accessing specific websites, apps or functions. They can also monitor your child’s use of connected devices and set time limits. Robust filters or family safety controls, such as Family Zone or Qustodio are available to purchase and download.

Approaching school holidays, where girls may be using social media more often, it would also be timely to have a conversation with your daughter and ensure that all of her accounts are private, and that she does not have contacts whom she does not know. When students are away from school, boredom can sometimes result in inappropriate behaviour, and mistakes can easily be made online, especially when the usual support systems, including friends and teachers are not as accessible. Be aware of signs if your daughter is appearing upset after using her mobile or computer, is being unusually secretive about her online activities or becomes withdrawn. A Parent Helpsheet, outlining steps to keep your child safe online, is available for parents to download.

If you do have any concerns over the coming weeks or into the holiday period, please contact your daughter’s Head of House, or email the School counsellors.

Mrs Emma Lowry
Dean of Students