Cyber-safety solution for young students
by Karen Keast
A social networking site is changing the face of cyber-safety for young children in schools across Australia.
SuperClubsPLUS has received the thumbs up from governments across the world and in Australia from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Education, which funds every Year 3 and 4 student to join the site across government, Catholic and independent schools.
With more than 300,000 children aged 6 to 14 across the globe as members, and 140,000 children across Australia, www.scplus.com is renowned as an effective way to tackle cyber bullying while providing a positive social learning experience for primary students.
SuperClubsPLUS director Dr Martyn Wild, who is also an Honorary Professor at La Trobe University, said the safe social networking site was first developed in 2008 to provide a cyber-safety experience where kids could safely socialise and have fun.
Dr Wild said the site helped shape children’s online behaviours while they were young, building their skills to protect themselves online in the future.
“The internet is a central part of children’s lives and they need to know how to behave appropriately to protect their own well-being wherever they go online – and also to be responsible cyber-citizens so they can support their peers,” he said.
“As parents we wouldn’t dream of exposing children or teenagers to experiences for which they have not been prepared – crossing a busy street, swimming in the sea – or where they are knowingly placed in danger.
“Unfortunately parents often make this very mistake when it comes to their children’s use of the internet.
“Some of the best known sites for children…are not only full of adults pretending to be children but they are also full of bad behaviour, including overt bullying and sexual chatter.”
SuperClubsPLUS features mediators to prevent inappropriate content such as bullying attempt emails, identifying photos or links to unsafe or adults-only websites.
Teachers can be notified of any inappropriate behaviour while students can also be suspended from the site.
Students are also rewarded for positive behaviour and can learn and develop basic ICT skills, from uploading media to publishing articles, building personalised web pages, playing games, along with joining discussions and communicating with friends.