The Cyberbully Virus

This video was originally created to support PINK SHIRT DAY and to spread awareness of how anyone can become a cyberbully.

It’s all about attitude and awareness, people!

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How to Enable “Do Not Track”

Flickr cc photo by Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography

Flickr cc photo by Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography

Are the commercials at the edges of your web pages stalking you? Have you noticed after sending an email to a friend telling them about the fun you had in Fiji, the display ads try to tempt you away again? Maybe Facebook is trying to sell you a new brand of coffee and YouTube is recommending more cat videos. You may be suffering from Ad Tracking!

Through cookies in your browser,  marketing companies can watch what you do online then manage your web experience to match what you’ve looked for or talked about in the past. This means the sites and their advertisers are learning more about you so they can tailor ads, articles, and search term suggestions. 

You may not think this is a bad thing, after all they only know your consumer details, not your personal identity but as LifeHacker online magazine points out, there are unanswered questions about the data that’s being grabbed by ad firms:

  • How long should networks hold onto your unique ID, set in your cookie, as you browse the web?
  • How much data should they be able to glean from you?
  • Are there certain kinds of searches and page visits that shouldn’t be tracked or monitored?
  • What rights do ad networks have to sell or store your data

You can limit the amount of info these sites can collect by enabling Do Not Track features on browsers and some social media sites. If you would like to learn how to enable Do Not Track on your computer, go to the Life Hacker article and for instructions on Limiting Ad Tracking on the iPad, go to the Apple Support Community

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What the Kids Think



Every year the Federal Government holds Youth Advisory Group on Cybersafety (YAG) online consultations. Last year and again this year, students at VSC participated in the consultations. The forums finished at the end of June and the contributions have be analysed to identify emerging cybersafety issues according young people. It also aimed to capture advice for how to help prevent or address these issues.
Some of the issues identified by the YAG included:

  • Some YAG members may think that the school community doesn’t care about cyberbullying if appropriate attention isn’t given to resolving incidents involving students.
  • Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter are among the most popular social network sites along with Steam, the online gaming engine.
  • Sites that allow anonymity are amplifying cyberbullying (e.g. Tumblr, and as people hide behind the ‘wall of the internet’ (hiding behind computer screens disconnected from the people they are hurting).
  • In addition to peer pressure, some instances of sexting can also be attributed to this disconnection to a real person.
  • Young people don’t read the terms and conditions (ts&cs) of websites/ online services/ apps and think ts&cs should be shorter.
  • Cybersafety education in schools needs to be taught earlier, have a more interactive approach using true stories to bring issues closer to young people, particularly if messages are from people who have ‘suffered and survived’ or from celebrities.
  • Also, primary school aged students are more willing to learn about cybersafety.

VSC now has their own Youth Advisory Group for Digital Citizenship and will be looking at these results as they prepare to launch their first school-wide campaign. So watch this space!

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Help for Parents to Learn about Bullying and Cyberbullying

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development hopes to help parents better understand, recognise and manage bullying and cyberbullying behavours with their new interactive program on the BullyStoppers website.

This short interactive was developed in partnership with Andrew Fuller, a clinical psychologist and student wellbeing specialist.

Bullying and Cyberbullying

Bullying and Cyberbullying

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Online Privacy: Starting the Conversation

As parents it is our responsibility to sit down with our children and have ‘The Sex Talk”. We do it because we want them to make choices that won’t damage their lives or their future. But how many of us sit down and have “The Online Privacy Talk”?
Just like sex, privacy is an issue for young people. They often don’t have the facts, don’t understand the consequences of their choices and don’t want to talk to their parents about it. In fact, its often their parents they want to keep their online activities private from!

So as a parent how do you start the conversation about online privacy? What is the right thing to say/do/advise? It’s important to open the conversation with your child and work to keep it going.

ThinkUKnow advises that first you discuss with your child what information you need as a parent to help keep them safe and what you don’t. This will help everyone involved to establish and maintain boundaries (unlike the mother in the video showing above!)

ThinkUKnow also recommends that it is never too early to talk to your child about privacy management. Once something is online it may be out there forever! Why not start with a family privacy audit? You can ‘Google Search” everyone in the family to learn what information already exists about them online. Next, you could talk about what kind of impressions people might get from the results of your search. This impression is called a ‘digital footprint‘ and employers, tertiary schools and organisations frequently search online as a check.

Starting the conversation is an important first step that will help you support your child as they learn to manage their digital information and privacy.

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Project RockIT Rocks VSC!

On April 18th, our Year 7 students enjoyed a workshop about cyberbullying, social networking, and online culture.  Rosie and Adam of Project RockIT spent the morning discussing issues involved with using the internet. Their visit was part of the Library’s cybersafety program.Project RockIT brainstorm

Students participated in role-playing games which dealt with developing empathy for people targeted online, talking about the why’s and how’s of becoming an upstander instead of a bystander, discussing strategies for dealing with peer issues online and brainstorming about the lasting impressions they would like to leave both online and in real life.

TIP: If you see mean comments or trolling on someone’s page, don’t get involved in a conversation online with the bully (Don’t feed the Trolls!). Simply type “dislike” in the comments box. It supports the person being attacked without inviting further negative comments.

Students were enthusiastically involved and the Project RockIT team commented later on the great vibe of the group. Rosie and Adam obviously left an impression on the students too; over 20 of them went home and liked and/or left comments on the official Project RockIT Facebook page.

Project RockIT aims to tackle (cyber)bullying, hate and ignorance by empowering school students to stand up and lead change. If you like to find out more about their programs and message, why not visit their website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.

We’ll be working with them again soon and definitely letting students know about their up-coming writing competition. Last year one of our Year 9 students won this same competition (prize was an iPad!). You can read Tarsha’s winning entry by visiting Project RockIT’s page and clicking on the Story Comp link.

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It’s National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence this Friday (March 15th). This annual day provides a focus for schools who want to say Bullying. No Way! and to strengthen their everyday messages that bullying and violence at school are not okay at any time.

This year, the Library has plans afoot to continue raising awareness of the effects on bullying and peer aggression and ways of dealing with issues (both online and in real life) throughout the following week.

Here’s a video of the title song from the movie Bully written/performed by Mike Tompkins. We’ll be screening this and other music videos at lunch in the library next week.  

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Have a Happy “Safer Internet Day”

February 5th is Safer Internet Day!  What better way to start off the school year than by thinking about how we, as students, parents and educators, can continue to be safe and responsible online citizens. This year’s theme is “Connect with Respect” and focuses on our digital rights and responsibilities.

Share some of the snappy new videos on the CyberSmart YouTube Channel with your students or children. Engage with some of the lesson plans available at SID2013 that look specifically at rights and responsibilities. Raise awareness generally by hanging up some of the posters available at: SID 2013. This year CyberSmart is also holding a live online radio event. You can check here for details.


Safer Internet Day is a global campaign with events sponsored in Australia on the CyberSmart site (run by ACMA – Australia Communications and Media Authority). If you haven’t visited CyberSmart before or not for a while, you’ll be impressed and educated by the wealth of information on this site. Why not check out what’s happening in other countries too by visiting the inSafe site.

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Facebook, Project RockiT and Headspace launch “Be Bold, Stop Bullying”


Be Bold, Stop Bullying

Love it or hate it, 55% of Australians use Facebook (not to mention other social networking sites). ABC radio recently reported that 1 in every 4 users of social networking sites is exposed to some form of abusive behaviour while online. Facebook is encouraging every Australian Facebook user to help stamp out bullying by standing up to bullies when they spot them.

The social networking giant now features a page and link where both adults and children can pledge to take action against bullying. The link also features a map showing where and how many people have signed the pledge.

Here’s the pledge on Be Bold, Stop Bullying for Students:

I will take a stand when I see young people humiliating or hurting each other,

I will not use my phone or computer to spread rumours or say hateful things, and I won’t ignore it when others are cruel and intimidating.

To make your stand, visit Facebook, search for the “Be Bold, Stop Bullying” page and pledge your support for this worthwhile movement.

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Why Don’t They Tell Us?


Flickr Creative Commons photo by: cubicgarden

Research the world over shows that most young people don’t tell an adult or parent when they are having social troubles at school. This is true whether the peer aggression is happening face-to-face, online or both. Some students victimised online worry that if they tell, their parents will over-react and ban them from going online altogether, but there is more to it than that.

So why don’t they tell us and how can we, as adults, encourage them to feel OK about coming to us? Anne Collier from the Facebook Safety Advisory Board and editor of Net Family News has written an excellent article with insight for adults into this complex issue. You can read her article here:

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