Cybersafety Information for Families

The rate at which new social media platforms are being created can be overwhelming for parents to keep up with, and new options are being created every day. The table below is a guideline of current social media and a description. We have also included the age guidelines for using the technology, but advise parents to make their own determinations on what is suitable for their child.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and parents are encouraged to speak frequently with their children regarding their social media use.

What to do as a parent?

We are encouraging all parents to:

•  Discuss social media with your child. Find out what apps and websites they are using. Make sure to research these and decide what you believe is appropriate for their use.

•  Make sure your child is aware that what is posted on the internet, stays on the internet. Today’s children are growing up in a very public way and may not be aware that the posts they make, pictures they send and questions they ask will always be available.

•  Make sure your children know that the real world and digital world have the same sets of rules. Let them know that what they say on the internet is the same as saying it directly to someone.

There are a range of resources available for parents that you may find helpful:

http://www.connectsafely.org/

http://www.bewebsmart.com/

https://esafety.gov.au/

Social Media What is it? Who can use it?
Facebook Facebook allows people to connect with their friends by sharing photos, status updates and chat. 13+
Twitter A microblogging site that allows users to share messages of 140 characters or less.  13+
Qoohme  A question and answer site that allows people to ask you questions anonymously. Whilst people believe they are posting their questions anonymously, the posts can in fact be traced.  The site says it is suitable for all ages, however there is no monitoring or ability to regulate posts. 
Twoo  A question and answer site. It relies on users deleting questions they find offensive.  13+
Ask.fm  A question and answer site. Users also post anonymously. 13+
Tumblr  A microblogging and social media site. The site features a high amount of adult content.  13+
Myspace  A social networking site with a strong emphasis on music. The site had been rarely used but has recently been relaunched.  13+
Snapchat  A photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings. They then send this to recipients. The message is only viewable for a short time before it disappears. Whilst they are no longer viewable, they are permanently saved on the company’s server.  13+, with users aged between 13-17 advised to receive parental permission prior to using.
Kik An instant messaging app, that uses data or Wifi to send and receive messages – this avoids the cost of sending a text message. Parents should be wary of Kik as it has a history of being used for sexting.  17+
Instagram Instagram is a photo-sharing app. People comment on photos and socialise via the photos posted. 13+
Viber Allows users to send free messages, photos, make video calls, and have group conversations. 13+
LinkedIn Social networking for professionals 14+
Reddit A message board style social media that allows people to post links, photos and comments. 13+
Vine A Twitter product that acts similar to Instagram video. 17+
Quora A question and answer site. 13+
Periscope Periscope allows you to live stream video from your phone to your followers. No set age limit, but the app is being highly criticised for its lack of safety protocols for children and the high rates of incidents.
Keek Keek allows users to create short videos called ‘keeks’ and share them with friends. 13+
Meerkat

Meerkat allows you to live stream video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. By pressing Stream, your live video stream instantly shows up in your follower’s Twitter feeds.

13+

 

We regularly discuss cybersafety with our students at Tintern Schools. Our pastoral programs regularly look at issues surrounding the internet and using the various social media platforms safely.

If there are ever any concerns regarding cybersafety, we encourage families to immediately contact either the pastoral teacher, Year Level Coordinator, Head of School or the Principal directly – principal@tintern.vic.edu.au.

 

A closer look at Instagram

instagram

Teens love Instagram as it allows them to capture photos and videos and share it amongst their friends and followers. Instagram is easy to use, and photos can be cropped, enhanced and shared.

As with all social media, parents may worry about their children using Instagram. But, the main risks are typical of all social media: mean behaviour amongst peers and inappropriate photos that may attract the wrong kind of attention. 

Parents can help their children stay on Instagram by encouraging them to be respectful of themselves and others. Remind them that their posts reflect on themselves and that what is placed on Instagram is there forever.

Interested parents can read further information here:

http://www.connectsafely.org/a-parents-guide-to-instagram/

A closer look at Snapchat

snapchat

Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos and videos, add text and drawings, before sending it to recipients. The message is only viewable for a short period of time before it disappears.

Whilst they say that messages are deleted – these images are stored and can be retrieved. Recipients can also take a screen shot of the images that have been sent to them.

Again, whilst there is nothing necessarily risky about Snapchat, it is in how the service is used. Snapchat has gained media attention as the “sexting” app and whilst it can be used for this and harassment, Snapchat is typically used amongst friends to send images to. Because the photos disappear, some can have a false sense of security in using Snapchat.

If your child is using Snapchat, we encourage you to talk with them about responsible use of social media.

Interested parents can read further information here:

http://www.connectsafely.org/a-parents-guide-to-snapchat/

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