11 May 2023

Addressing the harsh reality: combatting bullying, racism and online safety

Heads of SchoolJunior School
Addressing the harsh reality: combatting bullying, racism and online safety
Addressing the harsh reality: combatting bullying, racism and online safety
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A remarkable feature of Carey that deserves recognition is our diverse community, comprising individuals of different cultures and faiths. Therefore, it is crucial for us to come together and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our students by fostering an inclusive learning environment.

Whilst the overuse of the term ‘bullying’ has led to a blurring of its intended meaning, the impact of bullying on children and teens is immense and can have long-lasting effects on their mental health, academic achievement, and social connections.

The School’s Bullying and Prevention Policy which can be accessed on CareyLink defines the many forms of bullying as well as how we provide support for children who have been affected by it.

Some recent incidents that we have had to respond to in our Junior School have included both online unsafe behaviour and racial discrimination.

According to a study by the Cyberbullying Research Centre, children who engage in risky online behaviour are more likely to experience cyberbullying and they may also be at greater risk for online predators and other dangers.

As a community, it is important that we work together to understand the impacts of bullying, including racism and cyberbullying, and take action to prevent it from happening and foster an atmosphere of respect and kindness within our Junior School.

On Tuesday we were fortunate to have Sergeant Garrison from the ED1 Proactive Policing Unit/Monash come and speak with our Year 5 and 6 students on internet safety. This engaging presentation covered various topics including protecting/sharing personal information, online privacy, meeting people online, safe gaming strategies and the potential dangers of sharing intimate images online.

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Today our Year 4 to 6 students had the privilege of having a visit from Eddie Betts, an Australian Football legend, who spoke to the students about the impact of racism. This session also provided the students with an understanding of the importance of respect, inclusion and standing up against discrimination.

As parents and guardians, there are several strategies that I encourage you to use to monitor your child’s online safety and help prevent them from engaging in risky online behaviour, as well as strategies that you can employ to prevent racism:

  • It is important to set clear rules and guidelines for your child’s online activities. This may include limiting the amount of time they spend online, monitoring their social media accounts, and setting parental controls on their devices.
  • Talk to your child about the dangers of engaging in risky online behaviour, such as sharing personal information or engaging with strangers online.
  • Encourage your child to come to you if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe online.
  • Model positive behaviour: children learn from the behaviour of the adults around them. Parents can model positive behaviour by using digital technologies safely and responsibly and by treating people from different backgrounds with respect and kindness.
  • Teach empathy: it is important to teach children to understand and relate to the experiences of others.
  • Address bias and stereotypes and explain how they can be hurtful and unfair. Encourage them to question stereotypes and to think critically about the messages they see in the media.
  • Speak out against racism: parents can speak out against racism when they see it. They can teach their children to speak up for themselves and for others who are being treated unfairly.

It is imperative that we take a proactive approach to address racial discrimination and online safety in our Junior School. By creating a safe and inclusive environment we can prevent bullying and promote a positive learning experience for all students.

Kylie Baxter
Head of Junior School Kew

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