Educating ourselves and our children about potential cybersecurity risks across the internet is an incredibly important subject, and it's an issue ACG Tauranga continues to tackle head-on. Young people are spending an increasing amount of time on their devices, especially during the current Covid-19 situation, so we will be hosting several online sessions with New Zealand's leading authority on cyber safety for children, John Parsons.
Held on Wednesday 30th March, these workshops – for our students, our families and our staff – will explain how children and teenagers can take ownership of their 'internet health and wellbeing' to become capable, confident, and connected within the online world.
- Year 7 to 13 students will have the opportunity to engage in one of three age-appropriate workshops with John during the school day. The student sessions will focus on nurturing and valuing identity, covering topics such as dealing with unwanted attention, sexting, online predation and developing a strong sense of self-worth. Students will learn how to make informed decisions founded on common decency and reasonable standards of right and wrong.
- Parents and families are invited to join an online evening session at 7pm. John will showcase critical strategies to identify the challenges young people face and offer guidance on managing children's behaviour within the digital space. He will provide practical and straightforward tools that allow parents to support their children in using ICT safely and ethically.
- Additionally, our teachers will participate in a specialised workshop where John will highlight best practices to look after themselves and their students in an online setting.
"As parents, it is easy to keep our children safe when potential dangers are clear and consequences predictable," says Principal Thea Kilian. "Navigating the online environment, however, we can't always see what is coming their way. Our best defence is to educate both ourselves and our children. Engaging with a speaker who has the skill and experience to guide our community in extending our core values into the digital world is a real privilege. John's approach is one of knowledge, resilience and empowerment. I am very much looking forward to engaging with him in this forum."
Creating the best environment to learn and flourish has always been a top priority at ACG Tauranga, and student wellbeing is part of our school's DNA. One example of this can be seen in school-wide initiatives like our no-technology during break and lunchtimes policy, which guarantees our students can unplug and focus on social interaction, communication and enjoying the school atmosphere.
Accordingly, extending this pastoral care to include events and workshops which support our students in the wider world – like the cyber safety sessions – is a logical progression of our vision and values. By sharing tips and knowledge from industry experts, we can help to ensure all our young learners are happy and safe as they take the next steps in their lives with confidence, responsibility and compassion.
For more information on John's cyber safety presentations, please refer to the ACG Tauranga Weekly Update.