Everyone should feel welcome in my swamp!
Some see it as an advantage to be big, bald and scary to fill the role I have at Telstra – comments about similarities to Shrek and being built for the job are common. It is because of this perception that I am very conscious of how I interact with others. I need to make sure that everyone feels welcome in my swamp!
Language, tone and timing are all important, as is respect and empathy. I try to make sure that at all times both in the ‘real’ world and when online that people I deal with aren’t intimidated and feel relaxed around me. This came to mind this week as Telstra rolled out the results of a recent survey about the effects cyber-bullying can have, which I found quite interesting.
Whereas I’m very conscious of the impact my behaviour may have on people, the results show that children are often unaware of the impact their interactions online may have. Sometimes kids get caught in the cyber bullying circle because they have passed on or commented on nasty, hurtful allegations posted on social networking sites or sent by text messages to class mates.
My training and experience allows me to better understand what’s appropriate, but kids don’t have the benefit of experience and can often hurt others unintentionally. So it’s up to parents, schools and guardians to help kids understand how their behaviour can affect others.
An organisation that does great work to help kids understand the impacts of their behaviour is The Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF). Jackie Van Vugt, the AMF’s general manager of cyber-safety, has some really useful advice on cyber bullying which you can check out in the video below.
Jackie has some excellent advice for helping children understand whether their online behaviour is acceptable. She suggests parents ask their kids if they’d be willing to stand up at school assembly and share what they’ve done. If their answer is ‘no’, then kids shouldn’t be willing to do it online either.
Some tips I have often provided to parents and kids on cyber bullying are:
- Set clear expectations about online activity. Provide guidelines around the use of internet and mobile phones, such as what information they should or shouldn’t access, share or pass on
- Talk about what the consequences might be if you find kids breach these expectations
- Stay involved in your child’s use of technology. Have regular conversations with your children about how they are interacting on the internet and how their online behaviour might impact others and how to protect them
Have you found any particular techniques that work well with your kids? I’d be interested to know some of the ways you stay involved in your kid’s online world.
Have you heard about the Cybersafety Help button?
The Australian Government’s new Cybersafety Help Button is another helpful tool that provides parents and kids with access to help and advice on a range of online risks including cyber bullying. The button is a free application that once downloaded sits on the computer desktop or within the taskbar and provides 24/7 access to advice.