1 Thomas More College 1:1 Tablet Program Transforming Learning Think. Learn. Organise. Collaborate Tablet Program Handbook
2 Table of Contents Why a Tablet Program at Thomas More College?... 1 Why we ve chosen this tablet... 1 Signing the charter... 2 Technical support... 2 Hardware specifications... 2 Tablet Program FAQ... 3 Healthy habits for using tablets... 5 Taking Care of your tablet... 6 Using Your tablet at the College... 6 Managing Your Files and Saving Your Work... 7 Software on Your tablet... 8 Tablet Program Procedures Financial Commitment Staying safe online Surviving cyberbullies what you can do Safe tablet use for students Fact Sheet... 19
3 Why a Tablet Program at Thomas More College? Students live in an on-demand, technology-dependent world. They learn differently and approach schoolwork differently than students did previously. One way we can address this change is by using the latest technology in our classrooms. With 1:1 computing and wireless Internet access, students are able to learn in an environment where technology brings subjects to life and where students can own their learning environment and become engaged with learning that is meaningful. We must help our children develop the knowledge, skills and learning strategies they need to engage in lifelong learning in the 21 st Century. We must also provide opportunities for every child to develop their unique talents and abilities. We believe the Thomas More College Tablet Program will complement our existing curriculum and offer more compelling learning experiences for all our students. The Tablet Program also enables students to have everything they need for school in the one package. Students will no longer need to carry a dictionary, graphics calculator, bible and numerous exercise and textbooks. The Tablet Program is part of a global movement towards a 1:1 ratio of students to wireless-enabled computers. Research shows students are more motivated and engaged in learning when they have their own computer. Computer use has also been linked to better organisational skills, improved literacy and numeracy, better collaboration and analytical thinking. Tablets promote better learning in and out of school by encouraging: Anywhere, anytime access to learning Independent, self-initiated learning More family involvement in education Collaboration between peers, teachers, students in different schools, states and even countries. Why we ve chosen this Tablet The new Surface Pro 2 is a laptop in tablet form. Instead of a tablet with limited capabilities, the Surface Pro has the power of a laptop. The Surface Pro 2 is a 10.6 tablet with keyboard combined with a digitizer pen. The pen gives the extra functionality of users being able to write on the screen. This enables students to perform tasks such as adding hand written notes and drawings to their digital notebook, and teachers manually correcting these documents. It is robust, compact, lightweight and fits easily into a school bag. The tablets are wireless enabled, which means students can connect to the Internet in the library, the College grounds and in the classroom. Students can use their College tablet to access the web from home if the household has an Internet connection. Ownership Model The Thomas More College Tablet Program is a combined parent and College shared-cost model. The tablet remains the property of the College until ownership transfer. The shared cost model ensures a consistent platform with a number of advantages for both parents and the College including: reduced management and maintenance costs afterhours access to a tablet and curriculum software extended three year warranty promote a safe learning environment facilitates curriculum delivery management and support of devices, including battery replacement and software updates Ver 2:2013 Page 1
4 Signing the charter Before students are able to take the new tablet home, the student and parent/guardian must have read, understood and signed the Tablet User Charter. The charter includes a commitment to take the tablet home each day and bring it back to the College the next day fully charged. The tablet will remain the property of the College at all times, until transfer of ownership. The tablet represents an effort to expand learning beyond the boundaries and schedule of school, so it's important they are used at home. Using the tablet at home will also assist in helping the family be involved in the student s education. Technical support Students will be able to report any issues via or in person at the ICT Office. The following technical support is available during school hours. Keyboard battery loan service Warranty repair and replacement service Software reimaging and helpdesk Insurance claims Hardware specifications Processor Storage and Memory Wireless Display Cameras, Video & Audio 4th generation Intel Core i5 Processor 128GB SSD & 4 GB RAM Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology Screen: 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen) Touch: 10-point multi-touch Durable display Surface Pen Two 720p HD cameras, front and rear-facing Microphone Stereo speakers Ports Full-size USB 3.0 microsdxc card reader Headphone Jack as per the comps Mini DisplayPort Cover port Dimensions Sensors Dimensions: 275 x 173 x 13.5 mm Weight: 900 g Casing: VaporMg Colour: Dark Titanium Physical buttons: Volume, Power Ambient light sensor Accelerometer Gyroscope Magnetometer Keyboard Type Cover 2 Ver 2:2013 Page 2
5 Tablet Program FAQ What if we already have a computer at home? Many families have a range of devices in the home that are being used to support their child s learning. However, in a school setting they do not have the necessary battery life, the robustness needed for everyday student use, onsite warranty and technical support that provides a reliable learning platform. Without common software and hardware it is difficult for staff to support students in the use of this technology for learning tasks. A standardised platform also ensures the College can provide prompt technical support or hot swap batteries and tablets. Students are not permitted to bring any other tablet or similar device to the College as each tablet will be configured to wirelessly access the College s network services including the Internet and have preinstalled software that will complement our curriculum. The College is not legally allowed to install College licensed software on personal devices. In addition, the College can provide loan tablets and battery swaps to students under this program. The College also needs to ensure that the College retains ownership to enforce an inappropriate material policy. Students will have the opportunity to use their tablet each day. They should continue working on their tablet at home using the same files and software they use at the College. Wouldn t it be cheaper to buy our own computers? The tablets being purchased have a retail price of $1,278.99, without software. As well, the cost includes an appropriate cover, an extended 3 year warranty (product care), insurance for accidental damage and theft. The College will also provide onsite helpdesk and a replacement machine while repairs are made. What about tablets and smartphones? Currently at Years 8-10, students are only permitted to bring and use Thomas More College issued devices. In 2013 we introduced a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) program to Year 11 and 12 students and do not foresee them as being a replacement for a TMC tablet. Mobile devices are viewed as secondary devices and not primary devices for learning. What happens at the end of the three year Tablet Program? At the end of the three year program, full ownership of the tablet will be held by the College, and if all payments are completed towards the program and other College fees and levies, the College will transfer the ownership to the family. If students wish to continue using the tablet at school, the College will continue to manage the device and supply the latest software updates. Warranty and insurance will cease at the end of the three year program and therefore will be the responsibility of the family. Students may choose to join the BYOT program in Year 11 and 12 and bring along their own device. What if we don t have Internet access at home? Internet access at home is not required as students can work with files and software already loaded or saved on the tablet or memory stick (USB flash drive) without connecting to the internet. What happens if my child s tablet breaks? If the tablet breaks, the student should inform the College as soon as possible. Tablets are covered by a manufacturer s warranty. The warranty covers manufacturer s defects and normal use of the tablet. It does not cover negligence, abuse or malicious damage. Thomas More College will handle any warranty claims and supply your child a replacement tablet. What happens if the tablet is accidentally lost or damaged? If the tablet is accidentally lost or damaged, the student or parent should inform the College as soon as possible. A Tablet Incident Report will need to be completed and signed. All accidental loss or damage will be covered by insurance. Insurance claims will incur a $100 excess per claim, which needs to be paid before an insurance claim can be lodged and therefore repaired or replaced. What happens if the tablet is damaged by another student? Each student will be responsible for the care of their tablet and should take precautions to ensure its safety at all times. If by accident or misconduct a tablet is damaged and the owner has displayed a reasonable duty of care the Principal will determine whether the $100 excess is paid by the offending student or the College. What happens if the tablet is stolen or vandalised? If the tablet is stolen or vandalised, the student or parent should inform the police and the College as soon as possible. The police will provide a report number, this number will be required before a replacement tablet can be provided. An Incident Report will need to be completed and signed. All theft or attempted theft will be covered by Ver 2:2013 Page 3
6 insurance. Insurance claims will incur a $100 excess per claim, which needs to be paid before an insurance claim can be lodged and a replacement can be sourced from suppliers. If the tablet is lost, damaged or stolen, what will happen to my child s schoolwork? It is the student s responsibility to regularly save a copy of their schoolwork, also known as backing up, to their Thomas More College SkyDrive or a removable storage device. Does my child need to have the pen/stylus and tablet case? The pen/stylus is a very important feature of the Tablet Program, it allows the students to handwrite notes and draw diagrams on their tablet. Students must have their pen/stylus with their tablet at all times. Compatible replacement pen/stylus s can be purchased from the ICT Office or an electronics retailer. The tablet slip case should be used when transporting the tablet, especially when placed in a school bag. What happens if my child s tablet requires repairs? A loan tablet may be issued when a student leaves their tablet for repair at the ICT Office. Students will be able to report any issues via or in person at the ICT Office. Under what circumstances can my child lose the right to a tablet? The Principal or delegate can decide to withdraw access to a tablet or the permission to take a tablet home. Circumstances might include your child: repeatedly not bringing the tablet to the College repeatedly abusing the use of the tablet, for example using the tablet to engage in cyber bullying not caring for the tablet responsibly having too many incidents of loss or damage misuse and breaches of Network & Online Communication Services: Acceptable Use Policy payments not received in accordance with the financial commitment Is my child protected when using the Internet at the College? What about at home? Students will be protected when using their tablet at the College by filters that block inappropriate Internet material. However, these Internet filters do not extend to the home. So it is important that as a parent that we also parent in our child s digital world and discuss Internet access and set boundaries e.g.: only allow the Internet to be accessed in public places in the home, such as the kitchen. For further suggestions please take the time to read Staying safe online on page 15 or visit for more information. Inappropriate material located on the tablet may result in complete erasure of all files and or loss of the take home privilege. Will my child be taught how to care for their tablet? Students will receive guidance on good tablet care, including safe use and charging. Won t my child s handwriting suffer from using a tablet all day long? One of the main features of the tablet is the stylus. The stylus will allow students to continue to handwrite their work in a digital form. Thomas More College will also provide plenty of opportunities for traditional handwriting, including, under test conditions. However, effective use of a computer is a skill they will need in their post-school lives. Will my child be safe carrying an expensive tablet to the College? Students will be encouraged to keep their tablet in its own case, which can be carried separately, or in their College bag when travelling to and from the College. Can my child charge their tablet at the College? There will be very limited access for charging at the College. In most cases, a student whose tablet is not charged will be unable to use it. Tablets must be brought to the College each day in a fully charged condition and the charger left at home. Tablets supplied by Thomas More College come with a 7 hour battery life, which will, in most cases, last an entire school day if properly charged the night before. Over time batteries will no longer sustain their charge for 7 hours. Students whose battery does lose charge through extensive use during the course of a day will be able to collect a loan keyboard battery from the ICT office for the remainder of the day. What happens if my child forgets to bring their tablet to the College? Forgetting the tablet will be the same as leaving textbooks at home, it is a College expectation that the tablet is bought to school every day. Students can participate in the lesson but perhaps not as fully as otherwise. Repeatedly leaving a tablet at home or bringing it uncharged could lead to a warning or losing the right to take the tablet home. Ver 2:2013 Page 4
7 Can my child personalise their tablet? The tablets are the property of the College and are not to be altered or personalised in any way that is not completely irreversible. Labels, stickers or key rings are permitted to help students easily identify their tablet and bag. The asset sticker and barcode is not to be altered or removed. If the tablet and bag needs to be returned early or replaced under warranty a charge may be incurred if any personalised identification cannot be removed. Students may also personalise the desktop wallpaper and copy their own music to the tablet. Can my child access the Internet anywhere with their College tablet? Students will be able to access the Internet at the College. The Thomas More College network is wireless, which means within a certain geographical boundary (usually classrooms, the library and the College grounds), students will be able to use their tablet to login to the College portal without the need to plug in any cables. If you have the Internet connected at home, students can also access it there. If you don t have access to the internet at home, students can still use the software on their tablet to work on their schoolwork. Will my child have local administrator rights on their tablet? Can my child make changes to the tablet? Students will have local administrator rights on their tablet and, therefore, be able to make software changes to the tablet. Students will be able to adjust their user settings, install printers and connect to the Internet at home. Hardware modifications/upgrades and the installation of unauthorised software is not permitted. Students breaching these conditions may lose the local administrator privilege. The preinstalled software will be configured to work with the College network; students repeatedly requiring assistance because of software changes may also lose the local administrator privilege. Can my child install apps, games, download movies and play music on their tablet? Students will not be able to install non Microsoft Store games or download non educational video/movies on their tablet for the following reasons: The College needs to abide by strict licensing laws on all software installed on the College owned tablets. Games or video/movies may provide a tempting distraction during College hours. Particular game or video/movie content and classification may not fit in with our College values. Students are allowed to download their library of music to the tablet. Only legal music may be installed on the tablet. This means the student has paid for the music, through either purchasing a CD or paying for a download through an online store like itunes. Students must not swap music files with other students or borrow and rip their CDs. Students may also install Microsoft Store apps, provide they: Are in keeping with the Network and Online Communication Services: Acceptable Use Policy Do not affect the efficient functioning of the tablet for educational purposes Do not affect the College s wireless network and required constant internet traffic Do not become a distraction from lessons Can we purchase Surface Pro accessories from retail outlets? Students are able to take advantage of the Micro SD card slot to increase the storage capacity of their tablet. This may be used to store their work and own music. Other accessories, such as replacement pens, Power Covers, docking stations and screen protectors may also be purchased but will not be covered by College warranty. Healthy habits for using Tablets 1. Sit on a chair at a desk. This is especially important if using a tablet for longer than 30 minutes. Do not use the tablet on your lap. 2. Keep a good posture. Adjust the chair and tablet for a "neutral" posture. This means ankles, knees, hips and elbows are at about 90-degree angles and hands are in line with wrists. 3. Relax arms, neck and shoulders. Most muscle strain centres on arms, neck and shoulders so try to keep these relaxed. Typing and using the mouse should be light, and hands and arms rested when not typing. 4. Sit about arm's length from the screen, depending on individual eye conditions. 5. Take regular breaks. Take five minutes out of every 30 minutes to rest both eyes and muscles. Stand and walk or change position to do other things like reading. Look at an object about 10 metres away for 20 seconds. 6. Make sure there's enough light. Work where lighting is sufficient and make sure your screen is free from glare. Ver 2:2013 Page 5
8 Taking Care of your tablet Students will be responsible for the general care of the tablet they have been issued by Thomas More College. Tablets that are broken or fail to work properly must be either reported via the online helpdesk or taken to the ICT office. General Precautions 1. No food or drink should be near the tablet while it is in use. 2. Cords, cables, and removable storage devices must be inserted carefully into the tablet. 3. Students should never carry their tablets while the screen is open, unless directed to do so by a teacher. 4. The physical tablet and case must remain free of any writing, or drawing that are not the property of Thomas More College. 5. Tablets must never be left in a car or any unsupervised area. 6. When not in use in the classroom, tablets should be locked in student lockers. Carrying Tablets The protective case has sufficient padding to protect the tablet in normal treatment and to provide a suitable means for carrying the tablet within the College. The guidelines below should be followed: 1. The tablet should always be within the protective case when carried. 2. Some carrying cases can hold other objects (such as folders and workbooks), but these must be kept to a minimum to avoid placing too much pressure and weight on the tablet screen. Screen Care The tablet screen can be damaged if subjected to rough treatment. The screen is particularly sensitive to damage from excessive pressure on the screen. 1. Do not lean on the top of the tablet when it is closed. 2. Do not place anything near the tablet that could put pressure on the screen. 3. Do not place anything in the carrying case that will press against the cover. 4. Do not poke the screen. 5. Do not place anything on the keyboard before closing the lid (e.g. pens, pencils, or disks). 6. Clean the screen with a soft, dry, antistatic, or microfiber cloth. Using your tablet at the College The tablet is intended for use at the College each day. Students must ensure they bring their tablet to all classes, unless specifically advised not to do so by their teacher; in which case they must be stored in their locker. Screensavers & Desktops Wallpaper 1. Inappropriate media may not be used as a screensaver or desktop wallpaper. 2. Passwords on screensavers are not to be used. 3. Hard drive passwords are forbidden. Sound Sound must be muted at all times unless permission is obtained from the teacher for instructional purposes. A policy currently exists regarding to the listening of music on any device (e.g. MP3 player or computer). This policy applies to tablet computers. Printing Students may use printers in classrooms, the library and computer labs with teachers permission during class or breaks. Students who want to print on a home printer have permission to add their printer software to the tablet computer. Internet While at the College, students will have continuous access to the internet. Students need to use this service with teacher permission while in class in accordance with the Network & Online Communication Services: Acceptable Use Policy. The misuse of internet and online communication services may result in disciplinary action which includes, but is not limited to, the withdrawal of access to services. Ver 2:2013 Page 6
10 Software on Your Tablet Originally Installed Software The software originally installed by Thomas More College must remain on the tablet in usable condition and be easily accessible at all times. Software provided with all new tablets includes: TI-84 Calculator Software version of the TI-84 Plus graphics calculator. Microsoft Mathematics Step-by-step instructions and wide range of tools to help students with complex mathematics. Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean Ver 2:2013 Page 8
11 Logger Pro is data-collection and analysis software. Movie Maker Video editing software ScreenCast-O-Matic One-click screen capture recording on Windows Access to all the videos from the ClickView Exchange on your Windows 8 device lets you place publication quality graphics into documents, web pages and presentations quickly and easily Windows 8 Apps for Thomas More College Maths GeoGebra (www.geogebra.org) is dynamic mathematics software that brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easyto-use package. Geometry Circumference & Arc Length Dig deep into Circumference and Arc Length, and discover everything you need to know about the subject. Here the scope of each content Ver 2:2013 Page 9
12 Languages Learn Italian with Babbel Learn Italian - interactive, quick & fun. Music Scaffolder allows you to map out assessments, projects, tasks or processes, and easily export in formats you already use. Play Guitar Turn your Windows 8 machine into a virtual guitar. Music Notes helps you improve your sight reading skills! Use bass or treble clef. See your accuracy and notes per minute. Piano Time Thirty six visible keys, 4 selectable octaves. Configurable metronome. Science Periodic Table Includes chemical and physical information, images and links! Corinth Micro Plant Tour the microscopic world of plant biology in a 3D environment. icell gives students, teachers, and anyone interested in biology a 3D view inside a cell. Ver 2:2013 Page 10
13 Books and Reference The Bible App makes it easy to read and share God's Word OverDrive Media Console Download ebooks and audiobooks from your library WordBook English dictionary and thesaurus app. Kindle Read Kindle books on a beautiful, easy-to-use Windows 8 application. Wikipedia Encyclopedia containing more than 20 million articles in 280 languages. Khan Academy Complete library including K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Access to all the videos from the ClickView Exchange on your Windows 8 device Free Books Free book reader How Stuff Works Learn how thousands of objects and ideas work. Ver 2:2013 Page 11
14 Tools NovaMind Mind Mapping Put your ideas into an attractive and interactive visual format. Record Voice & Pen Produce videos for lessons, instructions and presentations. Adobe Reader Touch View and interact with PDF documents across platforms and devices. Fotor Basic editing tools, brilliant visual effects. Autodesk SketchBook Express for Metro is a fun and intuitive drawing application. kwiqr is a free QR code scanning tool for devices with access to a camera. PhotoShop Express On-the-go photo editing SkyDrive Store photos and docs online and access them from any connected device. OneNote Take notes that save to the cloud and access them when you need them. From time to time the College may add software applications for use in a particular course. The licenses for this software may require that the software be deleted from tablets at the completion of the course. Periodic checks of tablets will be made to ensure that students have deleted software that is no longer required in class and that the College has not exceeded its licenses. Students will not be required to purchase additional apps throughout the year. Virus Protection The tablet has antivirus protection software installed and is configured to update via the Thomas More College Network. However, students are responsible for ensuring their tablet is updated daily with the latest virus definitions. For security reasons, tablets that do not have up to date antivirus definitions and Windows updates will have restricted access to the College network until compliant. During holidays or periods away from the College students need to ensure they update virus protection on their College tablet if possible. Software upgrades Upgraded versions of licensed software are available from time to time. Students will be periodically instructed to upgrade their software from the College s network or by having their tablet reimaged by IT staff. Ver 2:2013 Page 12
15 Tablet Program Procedures Flat Battery With teacher permission students can collect a charged loan keyboard battery from the ICT office Loan keyboard battery must be returned at the end of the day. Repeatedly bringing the tablet uncharged could lead to a warning or losing the right to take the tablet home. Software/Hardware Problem Backup College related files to SkyDrive or USB Flash Drive Unusable: drop off at ICT office. Useable: report online using ICT Helpdesk (intranet only) Check/wait for further instructions via Pickup fixed tablet and return loan Damaged /Lost/Stolen Laptop Student and Parent must complete a Tablet INCIDENT REPORT form Incident Report form must be handed to the ICT office Student will be issued a loan tablet and parents contacted Check/wait for further instructions via Pickup fixed/new tablet and return loan Forgotten Username/password Ask current classroom teacher to check online (intranet only) Teacher will check online using "Check Student Password" app. Tablet not at school Class teacher will send student to front office with note Student reception will stamp diary and record infringement Parent will need to sign diary Repeatedly leaving a tablet at home could lead to a warning or losing the right to take the tablet home. Notebook User Charter /Acceptable Use Policy breach Breach is identified and details are provided to the YLC YLC to notify parents and interview student Repeat breaches Minimum temporary loss of tablet take home privilege Ver 2:2013 Page 13
16 Financial Commitment On signing this charter as an Enrolling Parent/Guardian you accept the responsibility for the payment of the tablet charge and any other costs related to the tablet program as determined and amended from time to time by the College Q. What does the monetary payment cover? Tablet Keyboard Tablet sleeve 3 Years Insurance 2 Years manufactures warranty 3 Years Product Care Keyboard battery loan service Tablet loan service if tablet is being repaired or replaced Software licensing Onsite technical support and helpdesk Liaison with supplier and repair contractor Q. What are the payment options for the Tablet program? The Tablet Charge will be invoiced at the beginning of each year when the Tuition fees and levies are invoiced. Payments must be made in line with the Thomas More College Fee Policy and Procedures. Family accounts can be paid by cash, EFTPOS, BPAY, cheque, direct debit, credit card or Centrepay deductions. Please refer to the Payment Option Form for assistance or contact the College Finance Office. Q. What if a family is unable to make the financial commitment? Families are encouraged to make an appointment with the Business Manager to discuss their situation. Q. When the program expires can the tablet ownership be transferred to me? At the end of the three year program, full ownership of the tablet will be held by the College, and if all payments are completed towards the program and other College fees and levies, the College will transfer the ownership to the family. Due to licensing restrictions students will need to have their tablet reimaged with only Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office before ownership transfer. Q. Are the tablets covered by insurance? Yes. All tablets are covered by Australia wide IBroker 3 Year insurance. Tablets are covered for accidental loss or damage and loss or damage by theft where there has been a forced and violent entry. The excess is $100 per Tablet claim. The excess will need to be paid before a replacement Tablet is provided and the original Tablet is returned from repair. Ver 2:2013 Page 14
17 A TECHNOLOGY GUIDE FOR PARENTS Monitoring your child s online activities is easier said than done with teenagers who believe they re perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and making their own decisions, thankyou very much. Staying safe online The internet has absolutely changed the way kids socialise. It s an amazing world that allows your child to make friends with another teen living on the other side of the world, and to discover differences and similarities. Just as you d make some inquiries about new friends that appeared at your front door to spend time with your child, you ll also need to find out about the people they re meeting online. You also need to keep an eye on how much time they spend online, to minimise any risk to their health or safety. Of course, monitoring your child s online activities is easier said than done with teenagers who believe they re perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and making their own decisions, thankyou very much. The challenge will be negotiating a balance rules about where, when and how the laptops are used at home, so that you re both happy. Shut the door on cyber predators While predators are definitely out there, the reality is a very small percentage of kids will come to physical harm through contact with online strangers. Clearly, the potential for psychological or emotional harm exists online for children, which filters will help prevent. However, nothing replaces parental supervision and education for kids about cybersafety. Australian researchers* have found that children who didn t include photographs of themselves or their addresses in their social networking profiles were less likely to receive sexually suggestive messages. But most kids like to have some sort of image of themselves online and avatars are a great solution. They re cartoon-like characters you can personalise and put on your profile. Better still, they re actually heaps of fun and often free to create. Visit When it comes time to naming your avatar, choose something creative but non-sexual, like Sk8trQueen, not Sweet Sexy 16. Keeping bullies out of the bedroom Cyberbullying is another factor you need to consider in creating laptop ground rules. (See Surviving cyberbullies on page 12.) Former Victorian police officer and cybersafety consultant Susan McLean believes computers and mobile phones don t belong in teenagers bedrooms. By virtue of technology the bully not only follows you home but is invited into your house, she says. More alarmingly, the internet can give the bully direct access to the child s bedroom the one place that they should be safe.
18 There are lots of ways your child can keep their online life, and keep their bedroom a place for rest. Education and child safety experts recommend your child doesn t use their laptop in their bedroom. However, if for some reason that s just not possible in your home, consider options like: k leaving the bedroom door open, with agreed random visits by parents k removing the laptop (and mobile phone) from the bedroom at a certain time each night, so it can be recharged in the kitchen. Lack of sleep can be a nightmare Jennifer Hudson is a professor of psychology at Macquarie University whose research focuses primarily on anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. She says teenagers are prone to sleep problems, which will only be compounded if laptops or phones rob them of vital sleep. As soon as adolescents start to take an extra half-hour off their sleep to check their s in bed, or just texting someone (and that s often happening throughout the night), that can lead to an accumulated sleep debt for the week, Dr Hudson says. We know when kids don t get enough sleep that impacts on their mental health, their functioning at school and their relationships. She suggests creating a technology curfew when computers and phones are removed and recharged in the kitchen overnight. Setting rules your teen will keep As if changing sleep patterns wasn t enough to make your child s life more challenging, the flood of hormones, new brain development, peer pressure and a growing desire for independence also start at this age. However, Dr Hudson suggests some strategies to help you make realistic rules your child can agree to and keep. 1. Keep the lines of communication open. Negotiation with your teen relies on having a good relationship. The way to maintain your relationship is by regularly spending time together, such as family meal times. In our busy lives it can be difficult to find time to spend together, particularly when the adolescent is resistant to that because they believe it s a daggy thing to spend time with your parents, Dr Hudson says. By making time for your child, you re also making space for them to tell you about their life. 2. Decide together where and when the laptop can be used If your child is used to doing their homework in their bedroom, they ll probably want to do the same with their laptops. Dr Hudson suggests shared problem-solving techniques to get teens onboard with your rules. Tell your child you re concerned about their sleep and their safety, and ask them to help you write down as many solutions as possible. When you ve both come up with a list, decide which ones you can toss out and which ones you can both live with, Dr Hudson says. 3. Be consistent with rules The laptops are provided to help your child s learning, but they don t come with permission to override your decisions as a parent. While teenagers need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives. The same general parenting skills that apply to the real world also apply online. It s okay for parents to say No to things like keeping laptops in bedrooms, Dr Hudson says. She suggests consequences for breaking rules could be loss of recreational screen time or other privileges. 4. Get involved and stay in touch If your child has a Facebook or MySpace page, ask to see it. Google their name to see what they ve posted that s publicly available. (If you can see it, anyone can, so there s no argument about respecting privacy.) Discuss anything you re not comfortable with and suggest how it can be changed. 5. Make it safe to tell Your child needs to know from the outset that if they are contacted by a predator or are being bullied, they can tell you without fear of losing their internet or laptop access. The fear of being cut off from the online world could prevent your child from speaking up. If they know you ll listen without criticism, and that it s not their fault, they re more likely to confide in you. If you suspect your child has been contacted by a predator, try to save a copy of the chat log (or whatever form the contact takes) for evidence. Call Crime Stoppers 24-hour line to make a formal complaint. A great way to keep communications open and also keep an eye on your child s online activities is to ask them to show you around their favourite sites. There s a lot of amazing things online which have unexpected educational value, too. Your child will be using computers and the technology for the rest of their lives, and you re in the great position of being able to get them off to a safe, positive start. Basic internet safety rules k Never give out identifying information such as your home address, school name or telephone number in a public message such as chat or newsgroups. k If you post photos online, use privacy settings to limit access to people you know well. k Remind your child that people don t always tell the truth online, and they can t take anything at face value. k Reassure your child that they can tell you anything, without fear of losing the laptop or internet access. k If they get a message or that s threatening or rude, tell them never to respond. k Never click on any links that are contained in s from people they don t know. As well as sexual content, they could contain a computer virus. k Set a technology curfew. k Talk to your child regularly about their internet lives, and review any rules that aren t working. For more information on cybersafety visit: * Online Child Sex Solicitation: Exploring the feasibility of a research sting. Kasun Jayawarden, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Roderic Broadhurst, Griffith University, Australia. CLICK SPECIAL EDition
19 A TECHNOLOGY GUIDE FOR PARENTS Surviving cyberbullies what you can do When we were kids bullying was usually out in the open, in front of other people. Or it included things like notes being passed around about you in class. As horrible and upsetting as it was, you could usually escape the torment at home. These days with the growing use of technology, the methods of bullying have changed. Some children will come home after being bullied at school, only to encounter more of the same from the supposed safety of their own bedroom. Bullying occurs anywhere kids (and sadly, adults) socialise, and our kids are the first generation to socialise online through chat rooms, instant messaging, SMS and social networking sites like MySpace. Kids today love their technology and there s no doubt it can be fantastic for socialising and learning about the world. But technology can also be misused and the impact of cyberbullying can be devastating as messages are able to be quickly and permanently spread to a wider audience. Researchers such as Marilyn Campbell of the Queensland University of Technology have looked at how technology emboldens young people to bully others online when they would not bully face to face. The anonymity bullies can enjoy through technology and the wider audience they can reach are part NSW Department of Education
20 Bullying occurs anywhere kids (and sadly, adults) socialise, and our kids are the first generation to socialise online through chat rooms, instant messaging, SMS and social networking sites like MySpace and Bebo. of the problem, Ms Campbell says. Written words can seem more concrete and real than spoken words there is less escape from the bullying, as it can happen anywhere and at any time. Donna Cross, a professor of child and adolescent health at Edith Cowan University in Perth, agrees that the anonymity factor can also make cyberbullying more stressful for young people than face-to-face bullying. At least if you re being bullied at school you know who it is that is doing the bullying, so you can stay away from them. But with anonymous cyberbullying, Professor Cross says the victim isn t sure who to avoid. If someone laughs in the playground, she wonders if they re laughing at her. Don t shoot the messenger At just 18 years of age, Tom Wood is a cyber veteran and has become something of an expert on cyberbullying from bitter experience as a victim. Although he s still at school, he regularly consults with government agencies on cybersafety issues. He stresses that technology isn t the problem. The internet, overall, is a very positive and useful part of kids lives these days it is very important for education and socialisation, Tom says. Understanding just how important technology has become in kids social lives is really important, both in terms of understanding the effects of cyberbullying and how it can be stopped. To many kids, a fate worse than cyberbullying would be to have their social network cut off altogether, Professor Cross says. It s an interesting phenomenon because we think that many children don t tell that they re cyberbullied for fear that they ll lose access to technology, she says. Stop, block and tell Experts around the world say the best way to beat cyberbullies is to Stop, BlocK and TELL. STOP: This doesn t mean stopping the victim s access to their phone or computer. When Tom Wood was being bullied online, he discovered the hard way that the first step is to stop engaging with the bully. For a while I tried to stand up to them and it just got bigger, he explains. Eventually I learned to not respond. Remember that every perceived criticism isn t necessarily intentional. Not only does the written word rob us of visual cues to get our point across, you can t hear whether the sender intended to convey playful humour or dripping sarcasm. BLOCK: Blocking the bully and limiting communication to close friends is the next step. When bullying is done faceto-face, it only exists in your memory, Tom says. With cyberbullying, the bad comments are physically there, and every time you look at it, it can have the same effect on you of being bullied again and again. For this reason, blocking the bully and removing the comments (if you can) are vital but always keep the evidence in case you need to follow up later with authorities. Through his website, The Wood Verdict, Tom has published a step-by-step guide on how to block bullies from your Facebook, YouTube, and other social networks. See the website at blogspot.com TELL: Tell your child about cyberbullying when they begin socialising online and reassure them that you won t block them from cyberspace if they re bullied. Make sure they understand it s not their fault and they re not alone in this. Sites like MySpace and Facebook encourage you to report abuse, and have reporting provisions on the site. If you believe your child is being bullied, tell the school principal. Whether or not the bully attends the school, your child s peers may be aware of the attacks and may be pressured to join in. Tell your child that if they are bullied, or know someone else is being bullied, they should tell a trusted adult at the school straight away. Every NSW public school has an anti-bullying plan for identifying, reporting and dealing with bullying behaviours for staff, students and parents. Information related to bullying is also provided to school communities Expert tips to bully-proof your child k Computer savvy kids are less likely to be bullied, according to some studies. Knowledge is the best defence for you and your child. k Keep the computer in an open area of the house not in kids bedrooms. k Talk to your children about cyberspace; know where they re going and who they re communicating with. k Reassure your child that they can tell you about cyberbullying without fear of being restricted from the computer or phone. k Take cyberbullying seriously. It isn t a normal teenage phase all children have to go through. k Reinforce the stop, block and tell message with your child. k Remind your kids never to post anything online they wouldn t want you or their teacher, for example, to read. It could be there forever. For more information call or visit: Kids Helpline The internet, overall, is a very positive and useful part of kids lives these days it is very important for education and socialisation. CLICK SPECIAL EDition
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