Online Safety and Remote Learning

Our girls will be spending increased time on their computers and social media during this time of self-isolation, to learn remotely and stay connected with their peers. As parents, it is not uncommon not to know entirely what your daughter is doing online, but the question needs to be asked, what can we do to keep our young girls safe online?

Common social media sites used by our girls include Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram, and the new Houseparty app, which is proving to be popular for the older students. It is timely to remind girls of the following recommended habits:

  • only befriend people who you know in person
  • keep settings to private at all times
  • always be kind and thoughtful, and only make comments that you would say to someone in a face-to-face setting
  • be a good social citizen. If you notice unkind comments, then stand up and do the right thing—talk to an adult if need be
  • when posting images that include other people, be sure you have their permission
  • be mindful of the backgrounds in photos you are sharing
  • refrain from posting images in your school uniform.

In previous editions of BGGS News, healthy habits for learning at home were shared, along with helpful resources and advice for parents about common online safety issues. Useful websites include the Good Digital Parenting and eSafety Commissioner, which also includes an online safety kit, Thinkuknow, and the Safe on Social resources.

Parents are also invited to a free online seminar held by Mr Brett Lee from the Internet Safe Education Team. The seminar, Managing Technology in the Home, will be held at 7 pm on Wednesday 8 April. Interested parents can register online.

Girls in younger Year levels may not understand the risks they can be exposed to online, and can accidentally stumble across, or be exposed unintentionally by their peers to, sexually explicit content and imagery. Below are some suggestions for parents to consider in regards to online safety.

  1. Have discussions regularly with your daughter that promote positive digital citizenship.
  2. Monitor age-appropriate information: if possible, girls should be using the computer in a common area of the house, albeit difficult during this period of self-isolation.
  3. Set boundaries: remove mobile phones during the school day to avoid distractions. During remote learning, encourage screens down for a break at 3.10 pm, and restrict internet access after a certain time.
  4. Learn from your daughter: show interest in her favourite apps, which will also help you identify potential risks associated with different platforms.
  5. Be understanding: some girls will be too embarrassed to let parents know what they see online. Open communication and being approachable about sensitive topics will enhance relationships.
  6. Don’t overreact: teenagers are afraid that their devices will be taken away if they make a mistake online. Proactively talking and generating ‘what if’ scenarios will help your daughter develop problem-solving skills as well as understand how you would support her, or know possible consequences should troubles arise.

Please do not hesitate to contact your daughter’s Head of House or the School Counsellors should you have any concerns.

Mrs Emma Lowry
Dean of Students