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Home » Education Advice » The importance of sports in education

The importance of sports in education


Many parents and children overlook school sports from a certain age. However, physical activity and sports is a fundamental element of education.

Your child’s sports participation in school can provide many benefits outside of physical health.

At Barker, we are committed to providing appropriate, diverse and challenging sporting programs to all students at the School. The reason for this is simple. Involvement in sport not only assists students physically and mentally; it creates opportunities for students to develop character, values and lifelong skills such as time management, teamwork and communication.

Mr Cam Anderson, Head of Sport at Barker College

Why do we need sports in education?

Sports in education can effectively contribute to your child’s weekly physical activity. Participating in sports at school has many other associated benefits.

Wellbeing

Participating in physical activity is central to your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

Playing sports between 1 and 3 times a week is reported to reduce psychological distress by 34%, whilst participating in sports 4 or more times a week reduces psychological distress by 47%.

Physical activity increases self-esteem and reduces stress and anxiety.

Sports in education will also help your child:

  • Sleep better

  • Improve their concentration at school and throughout the day

  • Boost their energy levels

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines provide physical activity recommendations for different age groups.

Children and young people are recommended to participate in at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. At least 3 days a week, children and young -people are encouraged to participate in muscle-strengthening activities.

Many are offered in sports at school including football, basketball, swimming, netball or running.

Providing balance at school

Students at school have different interests and strengths.

Sports in education may benefit children who do better in sports than the classroom.

“We believe by providing an extensive sports program we are actively promoting a healthy lifestyle and a nice balance between schoolwork and physical activity. This is imperative for the wellbeing of some of our students who thrive on the sports field a little more than they do in the classroom.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Sports in education provides your child with skills to become more well rounded.

“Overall, we believe that the opportunities we provide in our sports program aid students in becoming well rounded people who are able to juggle school commitments as well as sports passions.”

Children can develop and grow without sitting in a classroom all day. Research shows that schools which offer more sports have higher test scores and graduation rates amongst students.

Team Building and unity

Teamwork amongst children allows them to strengthen their cooperation and social skills.

For these students looking to socialise outside the classroom, team sports provides a network.

Teamwork is a very important life skill for children to carry outside of the sports field. A 2009 study revealed 57% of business leaders attributed their career success to participation in youth sports.

Similarly, sports in education allow for unity amongst students. Students from different backgrounds and social groups have the opportunity to work towards a common goal.

“We aim to provide a way for every student in the school to participate in sport across the year to not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also help build our school spirit.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Cognitive Development

Childhood and youth is an important and sensitive period for cognitive development.

Research demonstrates a correlation between sports participation and cognitive function in children.

sports in education. sports field. fencing at barker college.

According to Brain Boost from the Government of Western Australia, different studies show:

  • On average, academic achievement of children with extra physical education is higher

  • Participation in sports resulted in improved reading comprehension

  • Physical activity led to improved children’s maths scores

  • The cognitive benefits of physical activity were maintained over time.

In fact, children ‘can spend less time on academic learning, and more time being physically active during the school day without affecting their academic success or progress.’

Discipline

Sports in education also help enforce discipline amongst children by:

  • Providing a physical outlet

  • Self-discipline to achieve goals and physical challenges

  • Requiring a dedicated time to train and play

Research reveals children who played structured sports were better at ‘following instructions’ and ‘remaining focused in the classroom.’

Sports in the curriculum

Mandatory sports in education are incorporated in the NSW and VIC teaching and learning curriculums.

Many schools offer an option of competitive/representative school sports and sports at school.

“We compete in the SACCSS sports competition against other Catholic Colleges in the area which forms our school representative teams. While these teams are based on a selection process, we also provide House sport opportunities for all students to further facilitate increasing participation.

Volleyball, Soccer and Basketball are the most popular sports however there is also a growing appetite for Badminton, AFL and Table Tennis.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Does my child need to play sports outside of school?

In Victoria, only 6 out of 10 children between 5-14 participated in sport outside of school.

Sports in education is a great way to achieve physical activity, however there is no harm in carving out time for extra activity during the week.

Whilst some sports schools provide specialised training, many private schools encourage independent sporting as well.

“Our training sessions and games are played within school hours or shortly after school, enabling students to travel to other sporting clubs for training. This allows for students to actively pursue their own individual sporting goals and opportunities outside of their College life.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Many schools also run or host sport workshops in the school holidays.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » 6 Practical Tips to help your child succeed in High School

6 Practical Tips to help your child succeed in High School


All parents want their child to succeed in high school. High school years can be a stressful time for young people feeling pressure to perform. Student’s just entering high school may be experiencing anxiety.

Parents should focus on learning and growth to help their child succeed in high school.

What does student success look like in High School?

Student success in high school could mean many things to a parent. Your child could be seeking academic excellence, worldly experiences, increased effort or growth.

Student success is not about the number or the result but the development of a love for learning and genuine curiosity. It’s about building 21st century skills such as collaboration and resilience for the post-secondary school real world.

Laura Ruddick, Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

caroline chisholm sleep out. succeed in high school.

Image: Caroline Chisholm Catholic College.

6 tips to help your child succeed in High School

Parents can support their child succeed in high school following these tips:

1. Help your child stay organised

Helping your child stay organised for high school is a priority.

This will not only keep them on top of their schoolwork and assist them with their grades, but also alleviates any unnecessary anxiety.

Some ways you can help get your child organised includes:

  • Organise a home space that displays a planner or calendar and keeps your child’s resources in one place
  • Ensure they have what they need for school including stationary, books or textbooks, devices or uniforms
  • Note down all their assessment dates at the beginning of the school Term
  • Help them build a study timetable which sets aside time to complete their weekly homework or assignments
  • Encourage them to make to-do lists and reward them for their achievements

2. Encourage your child to do what they love

Have a discussion with your child about their interests in school and for their future career. Especially when it comes to choosing HSC subjects, parents should let their child exercise their strengths.

A more productive approach to success would be to focus on organisational skills, taking time out to do the things you love and the biggest one, to choose subjects you enjoy regardless of the scaling because this is where you will be most successful.

Laura Ruddick, Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Encouraging your child to take too many challenging subjects can backfire on their grades and mental health.

If your child is interested in extra curricula’s like sports, make sure they take the time to do this. Allowing your child to have a well-rounded high school experience will help them achieve success.

3. Ensure your child’s health and wellbeing

A vital component to succeed in high school is good mental health.

Make sure you are taking care of your child’s wellbeing, particularly during stressful exam periods.

Tips to nurture your child’s wellbeing:

  • Make sure they eat healthy

Prepare healthy meals and snacks using ‘high nutrition brain foods’ including leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts or berries.

  • Make sure they are getting physical exercise

Studies show regular exercise improves mental health and emotional wellbeing. Your child does not have to do strenuous physical activity every day.

The Australian Department of Health recommends children and young people do several hours of light physical activities daily.

This may include walking to school, walking the dog, going to the park with friends, playing handball, or helping around the house.

  • Encourage them to do mindful wellbeing practices

Encourage your child to do ‘mindful’ wellbeing practices from an early age.

This may include meditation, yoga, adult colouring, journaling and more.

  • Make sure they take lots of breaks
  • Make sure they get enough sleep

4. Speak to your child’s teachers or encourage them to

If your child is having social or learning difficulties at school speak to their teacher about their behaviour at school and strategies they can implement in the classroom and at home to improve.

succeed in high school. teacher helping student out.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

Either way, encourage your child to have a relationship with their teacher and seek feedback actively. This way they can ask relevant questions or seek further help if required.

5. Help them build a routine

Having a solid weekly or daily routine is beneficial to many kids. Children with extra-curricular activities to balance with their school and studies may feel overwhelmed without a routine.

Your child’s weekly/daily schedule could include elements of:
• Studying
• Homework
• Sports
• Extra-curricular activities
• Instrument time
• Exercise
• Time with friends

6. Encourage your child to take advantage of the opportunities at school

Taking advantage of student leadership programs is a great way to equip your child with skills for their future.

Other extra-curricular activities at school may include homework club, science club, band or after school sports. When choosing a school for your child, ensure there are programs available to support their interests.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information about schools please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » What to do if your child is being cyberbullied

What to do if your child is being cyberbullied


 

In today’s digital age Australian’s are on the internet more than ever. Children aged 15 to 17 are the highest users of devices with approximately 99% being online.

Cyberbullying is a serious issue among young people as 44% of young Australian’s reporting a negative online experience within the last 6 months. Bullying can make it difficult for your child to concentrate at school.

There are steps parents can take if their child is being cyberbullied, the main one being prevention.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is when someone targets your child online using threatening, intimidating or mean-spirited conduct. Cyberbullies may be using devices such as computers, phones, gaming consoles or tablets.

Cyberbullying can look like:
  • Sending messages of an intimidating, or harassing nature
  • Sending, posting or sharing harmful negative content that may be false
  • Sending, posting or sharing content aimed to embarrass the person

Cyberbullying may include sharing personal or private information.

Signs your child is being cyberbullied

Dr Karen Cohen, Principal Psychologist at Kids & Co, outlines some physical indications your child is being cyberbullied:

  • Your child suddenly stops using their device where they would usually comfortably use it

For example, they may stop using their laptop on the kitchen table where mum could see it.

  • Secretive behaviour such as shutting off a screen as you walk past
  • Jumpy and nervous when they receive a text or notification
  • Changed sleeping pattern

Your child may have trouble sleeping or be sleeping more.

Dr Cohen suggests your child may verbally allude to bullying without telling.

“Comments like, ‘there’s been lots of drama lately. I have no friends. No one likes me.’”

How to prevent your child from being cyberbullied

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness explains the key difference between bullying and cyberbullying is that there are more things parents can implement to avoid cyberbullying.

Help manage your child privacy and safety settings

Around 68% of young people actively manage their privacy online.

The top three actions being taken are:

  • Blocking or unfriending people
  • Increasing privacy settings
  • Disabling automatic locations on posts

child is being cyberbullied. cyberbullying. social media. social media ap

This step-by-step parents’ guide to social media gives an insight on how to manage your child on each social media app. You can also read further information about advice schools have regarding social media.

Educate your child about cyberbullying

Educate your child about what cyberbullying is, how to prevent it, and steps to take if it happens to them or a friend.

You want to get them to a position where they’ve got such an understanding, that they hopefully don’t get bullied.

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach, Wings Wellness

Teach your child about appropriate conduct online so they don’t become a cyberbully. This is not only harmful to others, but themselves, leaving a negative digital footprint.

Set up boundaries and guidelines for device use

Educate your child and set up rules for being on social media.

Some online boundaries to discuss with your child include:
  • Only accepting friends and family;
  • Not conversing with strangers;
  • Types of photos they can and can’t post;
  • Language they should be using online; or
  • Private information they should not upload or discuss online.

Dr Cohen suggests setting up expectations around the use of devices as home.

“General stuff may be limiting the hours of use. Decide when we are going to unplug and be present at home. When is ok to use it, maybe not around meal time, homework or before bed…. it’s a very personal decision.”

What to do if your child if is being cyberbullied

If your child reaches the point where they are being cyberbullied, it can affect their wellbeing.

Katerina outlines the first step is to determine the severity of the cyberbullying.

“It could lead to anxiety, depression, and avoidance of any interaction and in some cases suicide. If it is something very extreme I would jump on it and go see a family doctor and then get the appropriate help.”

As a mental health coach, she focuses on building the child’s self-esteem and confidence when bullying has occurred.

“For myself it’s about them understanding what they can and can’t control in the situation and building up their self-esteem to understand that it’s not really about them.”

Tips if your child is being cyberbullied:

  • Don’t ban social media

Kids use social media to connect. Banning the use of social media entirely could leave them on the outskirts of their peer group.

  • Set up boundaries or expectations about the use of devices and online conduct
  • Educate them about what cyberbullying is
  • Teach your child about what to do if themselves or a friend experiences cyberbullying
  • Manage their safety and privacy settings on social media
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Home » Education Advice » How to get your child motivated at school

How to get your child motivated at school


School can be a tough, repetitive and ongoing process for some kids. It is common for kids to lack motivation at school. Approximately 20% of students are described as ‘disengaged’.

The first step to getting your child motivated at school is to understand why they have lost motivation.

Signs your child is not motivated at school

Many children are open enough to verbally tell parents they are not motivated at school.

Others may make excuses for attending school or spend little time on school related tasks at home.

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness notices a few different signs in her clients.

Most kids will say something… ‘I don’t like school’, or they’ll wake up in the morning and all of the sudden they’ve got a sore stomach. If it’s not just a one-off thing and it happens all the time, you will start to see signs that they’re not that motivated to go to school even if they haven’t expressed it verbally.

In older students signs of lacking motivation include:

  • Skipping classes
  • Exhibiting anti-social behaviour

You could speak to their teacher at school and ask:

  • Whether they are willing to participate in the classroom
  • Whether they look engaged
  • Whether they are arriving online to class
  • Whether they are giving up easily on school tasks

Why isn’t my child motivated at school?

Katerina believes the first step is to gauge what is causing the lack of motivation.

 The key is to really open up discussion and find out what is causing that lack of motivation. There could be a number of reasons, and unless your tackling that core reason you might not get anywhere with it.

One of the most common reasons that children lack motivation is difficulty with academic skills and finding the school’s structure challenging.

Many children may have an underlying learning disorder such as dyslexia, or being on the autism spectrum. Other mental health conditions that may cause a lack of motivation could include:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • OCD

Katerina is a “firm believer” that school may not necessarily cater to all children’s learning styles.

“That’s probably one of the biggest ones; they just find that it’s hard for them to sit there from 9 to 3 and listen to a teacher.”

She believes it’s important for parents to acknowledge the fact that school is not for every child.

She believes it’s important for parents to acknowledge the fact that school is not for every child.

“That doesn’t mean they can’t do something about it. They can have a chat to the teacher and say they’ve got a different learning style. There’s always options, not ignoring it and saying ‘no that’s not good enough… you’ve got to like it’. Just get an understanding of what’s going on and don’t just ignore it.”

She advises parents to understand why their child’s personality is ‘not suited’ to school to help them adapt.

Many older kids tend to lose motivation at school if they are experiencing loneliness, bullying or teasing.

“It could be some elements of not having friends or being a bit bullied or being lonely as well. There tends to be some underlying thing going on…whether they don’t want to be alone at lunch or there’s some type of teasing going on.”

Tip: Use open-ended questions to find out why your child is not motivated at school.

To find out more information about why your child is struggling, try using open-ended questions.

Instead of asking: “Do you like school?”

Try asking: “How did you go on that maths test?”

child motivated at school. parent and student. parent helping student with school work.

Photo by sofatutor on Unsplash

How can I help get my child motivated at school?

Once you have had discussions with your child to identify why they are lacking motivation at school, you can begin to find tools to help them.

Talk to the teacher

A great starting point would be to speak to your child’s teacher.

You can ask them to suggest some strategies that your child could utilise at home and in the classroom to assist with their motivation.

Teachers spend hours with your child and a will often have ways to address issues with learning.

Have your child focus on the positives

Katerina emphasises the importance of ‘honing in’ on things your child loves at school.

“Just have a discussion and say, ‘look you are not going to love everything about school’”.

For younger kids it may be seeing or playing with friends or liking their teacher.

She suggests parents to discuss with the positives with their child and see if they can work on or change the negatives. If there is no way to work on what they don’t like about school, Katerina suggests just trying to focus on positives.

Help your child set goals

You could discuss with them:

  • What they want to achieve at school
  • What they think is going to be challenging and asking whether they want to improve on it

“Setting goals and monitoring them every three months and adapting it if you need to. That just gives them an outline as well… if they are going to school what they are going to focus on, so they’ve made that choice themselves.”

Celebrate their achievements

An important aspect of setting goals is setting up a rewards system.

Whether or not you have set goals, make sure you validate their efforts.

Research shows acknowledging your child’s attempts at a challenging task helps keep up motivation.

Get professional help

Your child may be exhibiting sings of mental health issues that are interfering with their motivation.

It is always important to speak to a professional about your child’s experiences and how to help.

What if my child doesn’t open up to me?

If your child is having difficulty communicating to you, encourage them to see someone external. This may be a therapist, colleague, family friend, family member or someone they can open up to.

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Home » Education Advice » Mindful school holiday activities for your child

Mindful school holiday activities for your child


The school holidays can be a busy time for parents entertaining children. Try out these mindful school holiday activities for your child to unwind, relax and bond.

“I think it’s really important for kids to learn to start to be mindful because I see that a lot of children these days that don’t know how to be in the moment.”

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness Centre

Painting or colouring

Mindful colouring allows our children focus on colours and choices. This allows them to express themselves whilst reducing stress, anger and anxiety.

Studies show that colouring not only has benefits on mood but also increases mindfulness, creativity and visual attention.

Colouring in between lines may also help build your child’s focus and concentration during the school holiday period.

Nothing beats art making for nourishing a child. It literally changes brainwaves, making space for discoveries and expansion of who they are and how they perceive the world. It engages fine and sometimes gross motor skills. It is an expressive communication from inside that can be shared socially in the outside world – something to talk about. If you’re worried about mess get a water colour palette or textas. You can set limits to suit yourself and the child can feel so free making art.

Andrea Bloom, Bloom Art Therapy

This activity may be great for parents to join into as well. Studies show that adult colouring relaxes the fear centre of the brain. Colouring generates mindfulness and quietness which may have the same effect as meditating.

Day out in the park

Studies show being outdoors has major improvements on mental health. Time outdoors can lower blood pressure, reduce stress-related hormones and assist in decreasing anxiety and depression in teens.

Time in a park allows children and teens to engage in physical activity and boosts mental health. It is a great wait to gather the family to play sports go on a walk or ride a bike. The little ones can also use the playground and tire themselves out.

school holiday activities for your child. playground. school.

Some popular parks in Sydney include Fairfield Adventure Park (designed for older kids) or Darling Harbour Children’s Playground which includes balance ropes, giant slides and tunnels, water features and more.

Popular parks in Melbourne include NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park which has a range of facilities for kids of all ages including:

  • Games room
  • A free kids’ club
  • Wildlife on the property
  • Heated swimming pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Pedal carts
  • Playground
  • Jumping Pillow
  • Communal fire pit
  • Family-rated movies on a big screen

Planting a veggie or herb garden

Planting a veggie or herb garden is a great way to get kids out in the garden. The fresh air, sunlight and feel of the activity are beneficial to their physical and mental growth.

Planting veggies or herbs will also introduce a sense of responsibility to kids over the holidays. They can check on the produce and do the watering when required. Your child may even feel an increase in their self-confidence as they are watching their plants grow from scratch.

school holiday activities for your child. children gardening. gardening pot.

Research has revealed the ‘stress hormone’ cortisone is significantly reduced in people accessing the garden.

Head over to your local nursery or Bunnings to grab seeds. If you don’t have a garden, you can plant in pots on the balcony or patio!

Bonus Benefit:This will get them eating healthy! They can taste the outcome of their effort.

Baking

Baking is a creative way to reduce stress, relax and unwind. It also has a yummy outcome!

Baking is a fun way to boost mental health as it is creative and engages all the senses, allowing children to touch, taste, feel, smell and see what they are doing.

Baking is also a subtle way to engage kids thinking skills over the holidays as it encourages them to follow instructions.

Children will also use practical maths skills when assisting with measuring cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.

Once they have used their focus and attention on the baking, they can get creative on the decorating!

Tip: If you want to make it more it more engaging, try starting a cooking or decorating competition!

Playdates

Social interactions are a really important aspect of school holiday activities for your child. Playdates are a great way to help children develop social problem-solving skills by dealing with conflicts.

Playdates also play a role in how children connect with others. Hosting playdates or having your child attend playdates may enhance their friendships when they return to school.

school holiday activities for your child. playdate. children playing lego at home

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness Centre, says she’s a “big advocate” for limiting time on devices during playdates.

“So many parents have friends come over and instead of having them playing and doing things, they’re on their devices, they’re not even interacting with each other. Even just being mindful and having a chat in the moment, just talking to a friend, that’s pretty much being present.”

but I work full time…

Katerina advises parents not to worry if you have to work during the school holidays.

“For parents it’s a great opportunity to spend time with their kids if they can, but it’s about quality over quantity.

So even if you can spend a little bit of time with them, but really be there for them that’s perfect.”

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Home » Education Advice » Your Child’s Digital Footprint: Making sure they think before they click

Your Child’s Digital Footprint: Making sure they think before they click


Your child’s digital footprint is a record of their online activity. This may include, browsing, interacting with others on social media, email or uploading any type of content online.

An ACMA report revealed Australian children aged 9-16 are some of the highest users of internet in the world. Approximately 83% of adolescents access the internet at least 3 times daily.

In today’s online presence, a digital footprint creates a reputation from whenever children decide to step online.

A digital footprint is permanent and difficult to remove from online. It is also important for managing your child’s security and privacy.

Therefore, it is important your child understands how to be careful when engaging in online activity.

Types of digital footprint

There are distinct types of digital footprints:

Passive Digital Footprint

A ‘Passive’ digital footprint is data your child leaves behind unintentionally.

This may include their IP address, approximate location, browser history or information about preferences of products and lifestyle.

Active Digital Footprint

An ‘Active’ digital footprint includes information your child intentionally shares.

This includes social media posts and comments, email or online messaging.

Identifiable

A personally identifiable footprint is one that contains information that can be traced back to your child’s real name.

This includes any information that can be used to trace your child’s name, date and place of birth, educational or employment information.

child's digital footprint. ipad and computer use.

Your child’s data trail can be collected by interested parties whether they intended to leave a digital footprint or not.

Examples of your child’s digital footprint

  • Search/browsing history (This is still visible on ‘Incognito’ mode)
  • Photos and videos uploaded to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Reddit (Even deleted content)
  • Any content you publish including status updates, tweets, or comments.
  • Likes and reactions to posts on social media
  • Messages and emails

Can you erase a digital footprint?

Your child’s information and data is very difficult to remove once it is online.

This is because once content is published online or obtained passively, it is difficult to know where information is stored or leaked.

The best way to embrace your child’s digital identity is to ensure they are managing their online presence and minimising their digital footprint.

Minimising your child’s digital footprint

There are a few ways your child can manage their digital footprint.

1. Modifying privacy settings

Your child can modify their privacy settings for a variety of different accounts.

School Choice has a guide to assist parents utilising in-app privacy functions on social media.

2. Be careful sharing harmful or inappropriate content

Have a discussion about their boundaries online and make sure they do not overshare personal information or details.

Ensure your child understands the importance of being kind and respectful even online.

3. Understanding the meaning of being a ‘publisher’ of content

Anyone who posts content, comments, likes or reactions online could be considered a ‘publisher’ of content.

This will help your child manage their online presence as even a ‘like’  or a message may be something to think about before engaging.

A lot of the content children ‘publish’ online can be hard to erase or track in the future.

Understanding that browsing history is not private

Data including websites, use of mobile apps, participation in networks and forums, gaming and entertainment are all available to Internet Service Providers or other interested parties.

This is irrespective of whether your child was using a private or ‘incognito’ browser or deleted their browsing history.

Tip: Google your child’s name

Using google to search your child’s name is a great indication of their current digital footprint.

Give them the opportunity to delete any old or inactive accounts they may come across in the search.

A google search may help track the more visible online content. Your child can remove any inappropriate images, posts or comments.

Despite this, most content remains on the internet even once removed. The best way to ensure a clean digital footprint is to prevent publishing or engaging with inappropriate content.

Why should we care about our child’s digital footprint?

Digital footprints now play a role in people’s employment and educational opportunities.

Employers may check your child’s digital footprint during the recruitment process.

In 2017, 10 American teenagers had their Ivy League School admission rescinded due to online behaviour in a Harvard Facebook group.

Digital citizenship is now considered as important as your child’s offline reputation.

Your child’s digital footprint could also pose serious security risks including fraud if left unchecked.

The concept of ‘digital footprint’ is not intended to scare parents. Creating a digital presence has become a rite of passage.

The most important factor for parents is to make sure their child’s digital footprint is positive.

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Home » Education Advice » A Modern Classroom: Using technology in the classroom

A Modern Classroom: Using technology in the classroom


It is often suggested that using technology in the classroom may cause distraction. However, the instant access to a wide range of information and opportunity for collaboration has made technology a vital element in the classroom.

Approximately 43% of Australian teachers and principals believe that digital technology in the classroom has enhanced their teaching and learning activities rather than detracting.

COVID-19 has boosted the prevalence of technology in learning. Many schools now have programs or technologies in place to assist with students and families affected by COVID-19.

At Xavier College we are trialling new streaming and recording technologies to enable students to connect to our classes while COVID absent and to create high quality multimodal teaching resources as part of our blended learning approach. The SWIVL robots are loanable through our library, the devices are simple to use and produce high quality videos that are shared on our learning platforms.
This is one means to which we are exploring how technologies can advance our instructional practices.

Director of Learning and Growth, Xavier College, Victoria.

Teachers have also continued the use of technology after the pandemic.

Benefits of technology in the classroom

Preparing students with digital life skills

The use of technology in the classroom equips students of all ages with digital skills to carry into the future.

Oneli Ranasinghe, a Primary Education Graduate at UTS says she is taught to incorporate technology into classroom lesson plans.

“There are a lot of things that technology could help with in the future. Students need to learn how to use devices and technology for learning… it is helpful for their future in our society which is digital.”

technology in classroom. ipads in classroom.

Keeping students engaged

Studies are beginning to show positive correlations between technology and student engagement in secondary school.

A 2007 ACER report noted “evidence suggests that the use of ICT (information communications technology) enables richer, more engaging learning environments to be developed”.

However, engagement levels do vary amongst students leading to inconclusive results.

Opportunity for hands-on STEM learning

Many independent schools provide a variety of technology in the classroom for students to experiment and learn with. The schools facilities and technology are used for streams such as robotics, coding or other STEM subjects.

use of technology in the classroom. STEM.

Is the use of technology a cause for concern?

With the rise of smartphones, laptops and tablets digital technologies are omnipresent in our everyday lives. Studies show children spend up to 30% of their time in front of a screen.

There is minimal research to inform educators and parents about the impact of digital technologies on children’s development.

Overuse of digital media may minimise your child’s opportunity for experiences that help with development. This may include socialisation, learning and face-to-face interaction.

A UNSW study revealed that 92% of Australians believe smartphones and social media have reduced outdoor time.

Many schools have programs available to limit the use of technology outside the classroom.

Oneli has completed practical placements in a school that incorporates technology more, and a school that incorporates it less.

“In the newer school where all the students had access to iPad’s they did get distracted more. Because there are more apps on it, they get distracted instead of just focusing on the class. In the traditional school because there is nothing around them except pen and paper, they get the task done quicker.”

Whilst there are benefits and drawbacks of using technology in the classroom, digital technology is the current norm for young people. Parents can assist with the impact of technology on wellbeing and health at home.

How are schools incorporating technology?

  • Some schools have a ‘Bring Your  Own Device (BYOD)’ policy
  • Some schools supply devices for students to access
  • Many schools use ‘Smartboard’ technology
  • Some schools are providing technology to loan to students learning from home
  • Schools allow students to access programs such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Office 365 and more
  • Students have access to technology with a STEM focus

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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Home » Education Advice » What to do if your child is being bullied

What to do if your child is being bullied


Bullying is a serious matter and is not a ‘rite of passage’. Bullying can take place during school, at home or online.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, it is important to take steps to help them.

What is bullying?

Australian schools have a national agreed definition of bullying.

According to this definition, the 3 main features of bullying are:

  1. The misuse of power in a relationship
  2. It is an ongoing and repeated behaviour
  3. The behaviour is intended to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness believes it is important to define what bullying is.

“I think sometimes people use the word bullying quite heavily… it could be things like name-calling and that’s something I don’t consider bullying.”

Children not getting along or displaying a mutual conflict towards each other does not indicate bullying.

She believes the key is persistence, “everyday these kids are going purposely to target them”.

Signs your child is being bullied

Common signs your child is being bullied may include:

  • Social anxiety and avoiding going to school
  • Experiencing a loss in appetite
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem
  • Poor performance in school
  • Has trouble sleeping or is sleeping too much
  • Change in behaviour

Katerina has seen forms of mild anxiety and mild depression in children arising from bullying.

My child is being bullied, what should I do next?

Katerina suggests three main steps for parents if their child is being bullied.

1. Define whether it is bullying

Using the definition of ‘bullying’ above, distinguish whether your child is being bullied or just experiencing nasty behaviour.

2. Speak to the school

“Most schools these days have procedures in place to handle this.”

Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach

Some tips for speaking to the school may include documenting the events and communicating in writing.

Children understandably may be anxious that any action may worsen the situation.

The Department of Education, Victoria suggests “you do not need to ask your child’s permission to talk to the school.”

Your child’s safety at school is most important.

3. Seek professional help

If your child is continuously affected by the bullying, you may consider seeking professional help.

“Seeing someone like myself or another professional would just really work on their self-esteem, getting them to the point where they’re so confident and happy with themselves that they would brush off what people are saying.”

What can I do to help my child being bullied?

Katerina outlines some tools parents can use at home.

She suggests parents begin by teaching their child not to compare themselves.

“One of the key things for a bully is the whole comparison thing. Saying they’re different and unique so they start to bully them over that. Just getting (your child) to understand we’re all different, we’re all unique and how wonderful that is.”

Katerina believes the key focus for parents is to build resilience and self-esteem. Some activities she suggests are:

  • Getting your child to write down their strengths
  • Asking your child to identify what makes them unique
  • Asking them to write down any weaknesses and discuss whether they want to improve on these
  • Teach them about what is in their control and what is not e.g. they are not in control of another person actions but they are in control of how they perceive a situation
  • Have them do daily affirmations and positive statements
“This is to build up their self-esteem so they really understand who they are as a person and they are able to wash off what’s going on with them”.
child is being bullied. bullying. bullied at school. boy reading in sunset.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Katerina urges parents to keep lines of communication open with their child.

“If your child is not comfortable speaking with parents maybe there’s someone else they can confide in. Maybe another adult, a school teacher or counsellor or just someone they can confide in.”

You should avoid blaming your child or using language to suggest they deserve the behaviour.

“Use empathetic language to understand what’s going on, putting yourself on their level and just allowing them to open up and talk.”

Summary:

  • Determine if your child is being bullied or experiencing negative behaviour
  • Contact the school and discuss solutions and procedures in place to help keep your child safe
  • Seek professional help if required
  • Try building up your child’s self-esteem and resilience at home
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Home » Education Advice » NSW Government campaign highlights the dangers of vaping for secondary students

NSW Government campaign highlights the dangers of vaping for secondary students


A new NSW Government campaign highlights the dangers of vaping and use of e-cigarettes for teenagers.

The $300,000 campaign ‘Get the Facts – Vaping Toolkit’ launched by NSW Health and the Department of Education aims to spread awareness about the harmful effects of vaping.

The campaign is designed to encourage parents, carers and teachers to have conversations with young people about the long-term effects of vaping, and its effect on physical and brain development.

Do high school students vape?

Recent trends indicate an increased use of e-cigarettes, or ‘vapes’ amongst young Australians.

A survey revealed approximately 14% of Australian students aged 12-17 had used an e-cigarette, 32% of them were within the past month.

Many young people are unaware of the dangers of vaping masked by brightly coloured packaging and lolly-like flavours.

NSW Department of Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, urges parents to report any usage in schools to principals.

“The number of young people vaping without consideration to the effects is concerning. I encourage all parents and young people to find out more and talk about the hidden, dangerous impacts of e-cigarettes”.

Ms Mitchell, ‘Campaign to stop young people vaping’, 16 March 2022.

Photo by RELX on Unsplash

Photo by RELX on Unsplash

Health risks of e-cigarettes

The NSW Government campaign highlights the dangers of vaping and raises awareness of the hidden chemicals in ‘vapes’.

“A respiratory researcher once told me that e-vaping liquids have chemicals that are similar to antifreeze… it makes it pretty obvious as to the harm it can cause to youngsters’ lungs.”

Brad Hazzard, NSW Health Minister, ‘Campaign to stop young people vaping’, 16 March 2022.

E-cigarettes can contain harmful substances found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray.

NSW Health research found that some vapes contain nicotine levels equivalent to 50 cigarettes.

The department also warns vapes labelled as ‘nicotine-free’ can detect high nicotine levels. Students can unknowingly develop a nicotine addiction.

Evidence suggests young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes in the future.

NSW Health provides resources for parents, carers and young people to learn about the effects of vaping including tools to quit.

Most schools have actively banned e-cigarettes and many have sent letters out to parents.

There are severe penalties of up to $11,000 for individuals found selling e-cigarettes or vapes to minors. Corporations selling e-cigarettes to minors can be fined up to $55,000.

 

 

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Home » Education Advice » How social media can affect your child’s wellbeing

How social media can affect your child’s wellbeing


 

With the rapid growth of social media, being online has become part of a teenager’s daily life. Social media is a ‘double-edged sword’ for parents. It poses benefits, but also exposes youth to risks.

Whether it is posting a dance to TikTok, sharing images to Facebook or posting a ‘story’ to Instagram different platforms are used widely.

Australians aged 14 and over spend an average of almost six hours per week on social media.

What is social media?

Social media is a set of web applications that enable teens to produce and share content.

Webpages with opportunity for social interaction may also be considered a social media site. This may include gaming sites and virtual worlds, or video streaming sites like Youtube or blogs.

social media. wellbeing. how social media can affect my child's wellbeing.

Social media can affect your child’s wellbeing if you are not setting expectations for healthy use. 

Dr Anna Cohen, Clinical Director at Kids and Co believes the key is creating “a really good balance for young people for social media.”

Risks of social media for teens

Most risk occurs where youth are accessing internet under the minimal age without parents’ permission.

A 2012 study reported that 92% of Australians aged 10 to 11 had used social media networking sites. Despite the minimum age requirements, 61% of 8-12 year olds had used YouTube and 32% had used Facebook.

Many social media platforms have in-app features and minimal age requirements to assist parents.

Online bullying and harassment

Social media can affect your child’s wellbeing and lead to negative mental health consequences in children and young people.

“Cyberbullying has become a thing now because it pops into their heads and homes and every facet of the kids life.”

Dr Cohen, Clinical Director, Kids and Co

Online harassment is performed through social media through any individual that communicates hostile or aggressive messages intended to cause discomfort or harm.

Dr Cohen notes some signs that your child may be experiencing cyberbullying:
  • They suddenly stop using their device when they used to enjoy it before;
  • They suddenly stop using their device where they used to use it comfortably e.g. they no longer use their device on the kitchen table where mum would see it;
  • They are exhibiting secretive behaviour e.g. turning their screen as you walk past;
  • They are visibly jumpy and nervous when they receive a text or email;
  • They may allude to bullying without telling you. For example comments like “there’s been a lot of drama lately”; or
  • They may have trouble sleeping or are sleeping more.

Social media replacing in-person interactions

A survey by Common Sense in 2018 revealed most teen’s favourite form of communication is now ‘texting’. Less than one third said they prefer chatting face-to-face.

Many teens and children were utilising social media during the pandemic to connect with others. However, research shows that teens who spend more time on social media feel more isolated.

Dr Cohen believes it is up to parents to set up expectations for healthy media use.

“Remember that young people connect through their online life. Parents have to be really careful with setting up guidelines.”

She suggests parents to review whether they want to limit the hours of use and decide when it is acceptable for children to be on their device at home. For example, your child may not be allowed to use their phone during “homework time” or in a specific area of the home.

“At my house my girls know there is no phone at the dinner table. Family time is happening and in-person communication is happening. Parents have to find an approach that fits them.”

Problematic or harmful content

Social Media can affect your child’s wellbeing if they are exposed to negative and potentially harmful practices.

One in four children between 14 to 17 have “seen or experienced something on the internet in the last year that bothered them”.

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Examples of potentially harmful content can include pro-eating disorder sites, promotion of self-harm, radicalisation, aggressive, violent or sexual imagery.

How using social media can affect your child’s wellbeing

Depression and anxiety

Cyberbullying and exposure to other offensive or harmful online content may cause anxiety, or intensify symptoms of depression for teens.

Social media can also take over the time children spend on healthy activities. Dr Cohen believes issues could arise when children begin experiencing sleep problems, issues with school performance and become less active.

Disrupted sleep

Approximately 60% of psychological distress can be attributed to disrupted sleep.

Checking electronics right before sleep can disrupt a good night’s sleep. Light from digital screens have a stimulating effect on our internal rhythms and melatonin levels that control the sleep cycle.

Your child may also excessively use social media before bed if they believe they are missing social interactions.

You may consider setting boundaries or rules around your child’s use of technology before bed.

When is social media good?

Studies show that social media can have positive effects on youth and adolescents, including:

  • Increasing communication abilities;
  • Obtaining information and knowledge;
  • Accessing advice and support;
  • Increased knowledge of technology;
  • Collaborative learning (e.g. school platforms such as google classroom).
  • Building social relationships and interacting.

These benefits have also improved the social and emotional life of teens during a crucial age in their development.

Should I limit my child’s use of social media?

“I want parents to figure that out themselves.”

Dr Cohen believes it is a very personal decision and there is no generic answer.

However she is not a believer in banning social media.

“They’ll be on the outskirts of their peer group. Social media is how they connect with others. It’s often how they make friendships… and develop relationships”.

Is there anything else I can do?

A key strategy to keep your child safe online is to choose safe settings and set parental controls.

This could block your child from unwanted contact and privacy issues.

Dr Cohen believes it is up to caregiving adults to set good example and really talk with kids and young people about ‘how to be a good human online, and be safe online’.

“Communication is key… but remember this is how they connect.”

Summary:

  • Risks of young people online include cyberbullying, exposure to harmful or problematic content and isolation from in-person interactions.
  • This may lead to intensified depression or anxiety symptoms and disrupted sleep.
  • Parents are responsible for setting up boundaries and expectations around social media use at home.
  • Consider utilising parental controls on social media.
  • Communicate with your child about how to conduct themselves online and be safe.
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