Amesbury School

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Well, the weather certainly takes the headlines again in this week’s digest! Wild winds, thunder and lightning, and incredible downpours - certainly enough to make our ākonga a little skittish across several days this week. Here’s hoping things settle down a bit, as the only ones who seem to be enjoying this crazy weather are our two resident paradise ducks, who seem right at home!

Last week saw two evening presentations from Zareen and Rob Cope around cyber safety. The sessions were open to parents and whānau from all 11 schools in our Kāhui Ako. They were certainly upfront sessions that pulled no punches around the dangers our tamariki face online. They covered the serious issues around online predators; the accessibility of porn for our tamariki and rangatahi (youth), and the impacts of this; and the impacts of gaming, social media and cyberbullying.

Their biggest point was that we are first generation of parents who are facing the issues we currently have around keeping our children safe in an environment of ubiquitous devices and internet access. They pointed out that we are all just feeling our way through this tricky space, and we often wrestle with the idea that we should not invade our children's privacy or look to control what they have access to. Their argument was that this is actually our role as parents, and that if we don't invade their privacy, a predator could do it instead. 

Once Rob and Zareen had scared us all with the reality for our tamariki online, they then gave us some really useful tips and ideas for keeping them safe. Some key ideas:

- Create a family plan around controlling access to devices and the internet, and explain this to your tamariki

- Set boundaries with your tamariki that fit with your family values and beliefs

- Have a ‘no devices in bedrooms’ rule, and turn the wifi off at night

- Have a family plan about alternative family activities and ways to connect without devices

Some key supports for parents looking to protect your tamariki online:

Protect Young Eyes - fab guide to parent controls for a wide range of devices

Common Sense Media - great recommendations about appropriate films, apps, games and TV shows for tamariki of different ages

Planet Puberty - great resource for helping tamariki and rangatahi with autism or and/or learning differences to understand and navigate puberty

There are many more resources and links in the follow up notes from Rob and Zareen. Click on this link for the PDF. Even if you did not attend the sessions, there are some great insights and resources that will hopefully prove useful in keeping your tamariki safe online.

Ngā mihi nui,

Urs Cunningham

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