“When kindness and respect thrive over bullying, hate and prejudice, all young people are free to realise their potential”. This was the key message from this week’s Project Rockit seminars for both parents and Year 7 and 8 students. A small group of interested parents joined us on Monday evening for some hot tips and discussion about Project Rockit’s quest to shut down hate online. Some of the hot tips for parents included:
- Growing your understanding of young people’s digital lives ahead of any trouble;
- Protecting accounts and content by selecting the highest privacy settings and checking what others can see;
- Agreeing on healthy limits and expectations before setting up new devices and accounts;
- Promoting pro-social behaviours like having difficult conversations offline;
- Encouraging positive peer support like using the DM feature to reach out to someone who has been affected by online bullying;
- Trying to suspend judgement when listening to your children outline a problem because there are many sides to every story;
- Giving realistic and safe advice that you would actually be willing to use yourself;
- Making sure your children block any inappropriate user, report nasty content to the provider and delete hate, but always take a screen shot;
- Encouraging your child to challenge online hate in risk-free ways and to look for allies who can provide support when you’re not around;
- Working with the School to establish a clear response that we can step through together;
At the student session, held in Garnsey Hall on Tuesday, students considered some of the great ways that they use technology and as a staff we were impressed by some of the things they were doing particularly in creative pursuits and connections. But they also considered why being an upstander is so important and what holds us all back from doing this. The key messages around kindness online were the questions one should ask before posting anything online - Is it true? Is it nice? Is it necessary? If not, don’t post it! We were impressed with the presentations from Project Rockit and they have given us plenty of food for thought and some great conversation starters when working with Year 7 and 8 students.
As the term comes to an end, I wish all students, and their families, best wishes for the holidays and Easter.