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MFAC school community makes its own home agreements!

During 2017, Steve McLean, the Cyber Safety Champion from Matthew Flinders Anglican College (MFAC), ran a parent forum to determine the needs of the school community. The purpose was to develop a shared understanding of how technology should be used by families away from school, in home and within the community more broadly.

It is widely understood that families mostly manage their children’s technology use well in the home, but this might be a different situation in the homes of their friends when they were visiting. In order to try and address this issue, Steve coordinated the Matthew Flinders’ parent community with events and a special forum, screenagers. Keeping in mind the College’s Mission, Matthew Flinders Anglican College families came together at the special forum and recognised that the appropriate use of technology included both the school environment and the home. The following was developed at the forum:

Three principles guide what is “appropriate” use of technology. These principles are:

  • Health
  • Social Development
  • Suitable Time and Technology Management

Health 
In order to be “appropriate”, technology use should:

  • Be balanced with physical activity.
  • Be mindful of addiction issues
  • Be age appropriate and suitable to the physical, social and emotional development of the child.
  • Not impact on healthy eating and sleep.
  • Not change behaviour

Social Development

In order to be “appropriate”, technology use should:

  • Not replace face-to-face social interaction.
  • Not provide the default entertainment medium.
  • Be age appropriate and suitable to the physical, social and emotional development of the child.
  • Be balanced with real world and family experience.

Technology and Time Management

In order to be “appropriate”, technology use should:

  • Only access content that is age appropriate and suitable to the physical, social and emotional development of the child.
  • Minimise the size of a child’s digital footprint and ensure that this digital footprint is appropriate and positive.
  • Be well balanced with non-screen time based activities.
  • Not include multi-tasking and the associated distraction of other applications running at the same time.
  • Prioritise school work over other technology uses.
  • Allow visibility to parents.

These three (3) areas in turn enhance the school’s pursuit of “academic excellence and striving for decency, with an open spirit of enquiry and respect for truth” while developing the many skills that are necessary in an ever changing 21st century world.

The strategic 4 E’s of Cyber Safety, Environment, includes the home environment as being just as important as the school environment to maintain a student’s overall cyber safety.

Thanks Steve for being proactive and building your school’s community digital resilience!

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