Online safety training supports staff and foster carers

It’s not uncommon to hear about the trauma and devastation cyber bullying or cybersafety issues can cause children and young people, but what can we do to help them to stay safe online.

Thanks to an Online Safety training session designed and delivered by the Office of the e-Safety Commission, our staff, carers and families are now better equipped to support children and young people safely navigate their digital world.

119 Children, Youth and Families staff and carers across Queensland participated in the online training on November 20.

“No matter the age, having a solid understanding of a young person’s use of technology and its impact on both online and offline behaviour is essential in being able to provide effective and responsive care,” Children, Youth and Families General Manager Leanne Rutherford said.

It is well documented that an increasing reliance on social media has been linked to higher rates of cyber bullying and lower self-esteem, many parents do not monitor their child’s social media usage and teenagers are increasingly reporting being contacted by strangers or are already actively communicating with them.

“Technology has an enormous impact on the wellbeing of our young people, particularly those who are vulnerable who often struggle with their own self-worth, identity, or feel they do not fit in,” Ms Rutherford said.

The Office of the e-Safety Commissioner tailored the content to ensure it reflected the needs of our families, carers and staff.

“Our staff and carers can be involved in any number of activities, such as co-ordinating a family day care program as an early childhood educator, providing a safe and secure home as a foster carer or supporting a vulnerable young person as a youth worker.”

“The training provided a valuable opportunity for them to develop digital intelligence, responsibility and resilience in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the work they do.”  

The session focussed on cybersafety (unwanted contact, digital reputation, sexting, accessing sexually explicit and inappropriate material - and its influence on relationships and sexual identity); excessive gaming/social media; the cultural context of social media and technology use by young people.

It considered practical strategies to safeguard and minimise risk with online interactions and offered advice to support safe and enjoyable online experiences.

“Being able to offer information from an expert in the field that is relevant and meaningful to what we do has been well-received by our staff and families,” Ms Rutherford said.

Staff, carers and families around Queensland were invited to attend the session at Springlife Church of Christ or live stream from their home, or at a location of their choice. Four sessions were held during and after school hours.

“We need to step into the digital lives of our children and help to guide them to make good decisions.

“Equipping and supporting our staff, carers and families is an important component of achieving this,” Ms Rutherford said.

 

Posted December 11, 2018 in News