Adolescents live and breathe in a digital world. Its rapid pace and constant evolution can be addictive to young minds, leaving many parents scratching their heads, worrying about potential negative effects on children.
Some of the concerns – like too much screen time – are within parental control. But other risks are dangerous. These include exposure to inappropriate content, risking privacy, sexting and cyberbullying.
“Negative behaviour online can be more damaging than behaviour in the real world, because kids have nowhere to escape to,” The Geelong College’s Joan Gill warns.
Schools are responding to this digital minefield by implementing cyber safety programs. One such program is eSmart Schools, an initiative by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to help schools promote the safe use of online technologies and create a cyber safe or “eSmart” environment.
Immersion in the online world is part of adolescent life. But while this can cause anxiety for parents, Ms Gatliff suggests the benefits far outweigh the negatives. “It’s about trying to promote technology – to see it as a tool,” she says.
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CyberHound is proud to be a cybersecurity provider to The Geelong College and an Alannah and Madeline Foundation Community Supporter.