Cybersafety – Guide – abridged version appeared in Joeys Jottings May 2012

Almost daily there are reports in our newspapers or any number of current affairs programs speaking about the dangers of living in an online world. Of note in the past month I have heard of companies insisting that potential employees “friend” them on Facebook that basically gives the company open access to whatever is being posted, to numerous employees being taken to task even dismissed for what they say on their Facebook pages.  All warnings show that currently people do not know how to behave in online environments.


Even a simple thing such a passwords to protect your online self is something ignored by many.  After having had several conversations with adults over the past several weeks, they are often just as naive than their teenage counterparts. The number of times I chat to students and adults alike and their password is “password” is amazing. Not that I am fishing for passwords as this is something we stress at the College that students should never divulges to anyone, but in fact all too often they are happy to share without any thought of the potential consequence. In fact many people are willing to share information online without any thought as to who has ownership of the material and what it is being used for and perhaps most importantly the effect that this free information sharing has on those around us.


At Joeys there are regular discussions in Year group meetings as well as several activities carried out throughout the year to guide students into how to behave and navigate in the online world, but in actual fact we need to ensure that the boys are getting educated in appropriate online behaviour continuously and form all areas of their lives. It is an obvious fact that teenage boys do feel they are invincible and what they know about behaving and protecting themselves online does not necessarily apply to them. I recently read an article that suggested that through formal and informal education we teach children from a very early age to cross the street, yet we literally allow our boys to cross the “internet superhighway” either in their bedrooms, on their phones without the full guidance on how to do this safely.


For many adults we just do not understand the need and desire for teenagers to be SO connected throughout their every day activity. Michael-Carr Greg, leading cyber psychologists suggests that online social media spaces such as FaceBook is the modern day equivalent of the local milkbar. One with older children knows that their lives are planned, shared and even lived in this online environment just as much are the “Real World”. I know the lack of planning of teenagers in organising events and the almost continuous barrage of texts that occur literally up to the minute of meeting in order to get things happening in the real world personally infuriates me. Yes infuriating to we older people but a natural and logical way of life for anyone in the under 25 age group. One asks why a simple phone call would not do.


But this is their online world, their milkbar, their way of staying connected.  An Australian Government Office for Youth Report in 1999 stated that social networking sites give young people a sense of community. They are the modern day hangouts where they can maintain friendships, to build identity (explore what music they like, fashion, political views etc) and to help and support each other on personal issues. The report goes on to suggest, “Social Networking reinforces their current social lives and social relationships. “


Being connected is also very powerful tool as no longer do you leave you home, your school, your place of employment and no longer hear from people, it is possible to always stay in touch, even if your list grows to the many hundreds and in fact includes many you would not even say hello to on the street. Added to this is the need for many to let friends of friends or in fact even people totally unknown to them have access too much of their private life.


This is one of the first key lessons that we as educators and parents need to teach our children. Ideally if you can get your son to be friends with you online it is possible for you to guide them in their activities, but if nothing else it is important that you keep in touch and have discussions lines open so that you are fully aware if the friend list is getting out of hand.  It is quite a status symbol for kids to get as many friends as possible. You need to ask them, how well they know their contacts and how much are they sharing. Because of course if their privacy settings are not set correctly, they are happily sharing everything not only with their many friends and loose acquaintances but also often knowingly or unknowingly sharing about themselves and their lives with the FRIENDS of friends (who also are in their hundreds). If you already start with a very wide friendship base, this expands to an almost limitless number of people who know intimate details about their online persona without them truly knowing or understanding how widespread this can be.


This can have tremendous implications for the way that the boys are perceived both now and in the future. Again Carr-Greg suggests “ teenagers were oblivious to the relentlessly public nature of the Internet and did not think twice about acting out their passions and making their mistakes online.” All what is said, images posted, locations reported through any their devices such as phones, ipads or tablets, as well as computers goes towards creating their digital footprint. The quick and fast rule we tell the boys is that they need to consider if they would share the image or comment with anyone to their face and / or does it pass the “grandma” test.


Teenagers like sharing their good times online so the latest party, football outing or even “smart or not so smart” comment about others. It is quickly there for all to see, and share with their friends. There is a very pertinent YouTube video titled Think before you Post, which truly highlights the permanent nature of what is put online, once something is posted it can never truly be taken down.  Inappropriate posting can have serious implications both now and in the future. Teenagers are making their mistakes online, sharing comments that may be hurtful or said in fun but without the tone of voice, expression so that the meaning is not clear and others both in the present and in future have access to this anytime. I have already indicated that employers are getting potential employees to befriend them on Facebook but also there are many companies and institutions that make it common practice to search a person’s digital footprint before considering them for employment or scholarships.   Roger Clarke, chairman of the Australian Privacy Foundation  “Reclaiming your online identity is like trying to unbake a cake. If potential employers have seen you drunk with your top off, you can’t undo it,”




The most common sense approach to combat any negative digital footprint is to ensure that privacy setting are closed so that only friends can see posts, but most importantly educating teenagers that just because there is a sense of anonymity to what they post nothing should be said or posted that they would not say or show to others to their face. Lack of thought in this area can not only lead to embarrassing situations down the track, but if posted at the expense of others can quickly turn into a bullying situation.


Bullying and cyber bullying is basically the same thing, but the nature of online social environments and the world of texting amplify the situations enormously. For those who are doing the bullying, a posted insensitive or cruel comment or text can easily be retransmitted over and over again, quickly expanding the situation to disastrous proportions. For those who are at the receiving end of the bullying, the attacks can be continuous and seemingly never ending. Although both forms of bullying are totally unacceptable, with traditional bullying methods, the victim can at least walk out of the environment and escape from time to time, With cyberbullying, it is somewhat different; the email or text messages, blog or FaceBook posts are widespread and never ending. As parents there are a number of things you can assist your teen in this area. In this area, prevention is of course better than trying to find a cure, so by protecting their online presence so that only true friends have access to personal data, photos and locations can minimize the risk of becoming a victim. Firstly if there is some evidence that your son is being cyber bullied it is essential that all communications are kept as evidence. Even if the bullying does not involve people in close proximity to your child, in the first instance the child’s schools should also be informed. The Kids Help line (details below) now offers assistance to teenagers both through phone, email and online counseling so this should also be something you should make your son aware of. Again open communication and discussing ground rules on the use of all technologies will also assist. Teenagers will often go to bed with their phones so that they can stay connected but in the event of difficult situations such as bullying and harassment this also means they do not get a break from the torments thus making it all that more difficult to cope with. Perhaps a policy that phones get put away from bedrooms after a certain hour may also alleviate any potential problem and if nothing else gives your teen much needed sleep. It is interesting to note that at a recent Cybersafety presentation, it was highlighted that many young people have more than one phone, often without full parental knowledge. Again make sure ALL phones are out of reach.


Protecting ones digital reputation and learning the etiquette and rules of appropriate behaviour are vital skills that are truly the responsibility of all involved. The bottom line is if you can keep communication with your child open so that you have access to their online world be that by establishing your own online friendship or just being that voice of conscience who is both literacy and virtually hanging over their shoulders will certainly go a long way to helping learn to survive and thrive in the online environment. The web is evolving and quickly becoming an integral par of all our lives with all its wonderful opportunities but also at times inherent dangers. It is truly essential that we discuss, explore its potential and possibilities with our children so that we hold their hands as they cross the virtual roads.


Read more:

DWEER: 2009 Report – Communicating with Young People

Australian Communication and Media Authority (Australian Govt)

Kids Helpline:

Backing Up of Sons Laptop

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 I have had a small number of parents ask about the backing up of laptops and what they should buy for their son(s)

 We have developed our own backup program here at Joeys which backs up the Mac Drive, Windows Drive and main ‘Data’ Drive in one go.

 The minimum size for the portable drive required is 250 Gigabyte (Gb)

 You can get these anywhere you like – Big W, Target, Dick Smith, Office Works  JB HIFi etc

 I have included one sample on the link below —-  Western Digital 500Gb  for $79. After Christmas sales, etc maybe a good time to buy one.

 Some Points to Note:

  • Must be windows 7 compatible (Please don’t buy a MAC formatted only one – If it has MAC software as well that’s fine)
  • Use the Joeys software – provided on your sons laptop – don’t load the software that comes with the portable drive
  • 500 GB should cost you about $79  Its NOT imperative that you have one for the very first day next year…. Don’t rush out and buy one for twice as much.  Keep an eye out for the sales.
  • Western Digital or Seagate are good brands

Reports and Broadband Devices

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As another year has drawn to a close I would like to provide some information for you…

College Reports:

At the end of every term reports will be available to you.  This will be the same day that the College mails them (snail mail)  they will be available to you online via the Portal (Normally about 1pm)


In 2011 Years 7 and 10 will be supplied a laptop by the school in our 1:1 Learning program rollout (

Boys moving into Years 11 and 12 will be able to use their own private laptops on the College  network. 

Boys in Years 8 and 9 (2011) will not be required to have laptops.  In 2012 they will be supplied with laptops.  I would suggest that parents hold off buying your son a laptop in 2011 as he does not require one for day to day classroom use.  Access to Computer labs will be more available due to the number of students in years 7 and 10 not requiring access to these in 2011.

Mobile Broadband

The College requests that parents DO NOT buy mobile internet cards for laptops.  Once you do this you immediately give students FULL unregulated access to the internet.  Provision of these unnecessary mobile internet connection is not conducive to the routines for study and may lead to use of this access for social networking (e.g. Facebook and gaming) at inappropriate times and can be distracting and potentially detrimental to his study program at the College

The Boys at Joeys can access whatever is required via the College network even on their private student network.  Please don’t be ‘conned’

Mobile Phones:  

Many mobile phones by default come with internet access allowing students again to be ‘facebooking’ at any time.  This is not a huge problem at Joeys but here and at home in his bedroom students simply use it at inappropriate times.  If you have the ability it may be wise to check your sons phone records and have a look at the times that he maybe texting…….  You may be surprised with what you find; however, if this is being used appropriately it should not be an issue for your son.

Social Networking  and Gaming Times @ Joeys

From time to time I’m asked what we do to allow students access to social networking sites (Facebook etc.) and games.  Access to the internet is available at all times Our current response  to social networking is as follows:

Years 7 to 12 inclusive

Social networking and gaming is available from 3.30 to 5.30 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday

Accessed is blocked  during Study Monday to Friday

Access is opens at the following times for students in particular Year groups

  • Years 7 and 8  opens from 8pm to 9.00pm
  • Years 9 and 10  opens from 9pm to 9.45pm
  • Years 11 and 12 opens from 9.30pm to 10.30pm

The College Internet access is discontinued between 10.30pm to 6.00 am for all students.

Portal Access

The College Portal allows parents to access sites within the College.. the following is available after entry to the portal is obtained

Access to your sons

  1. reports,
  2. timetables,
  3. teachers names,
  4. day boy departure times and
  5. Weekend leave forms
  6. Sports reports
  7. JNet

And can only be accesses via the Portal.    Please access this via, select the link JOEYS ONLINE (at the top of the web site).  You can use this access for other management matters such as resetting your password. 

Parents new to the College are now able to access the Portal.  Please log on at some stage to make sure that you can access the portal.

Merry Christmas

Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live

Security experts and privacy advocates have recently begun warning about the potential dangers of geotags, which are embedded in photos and videos taken with GPS-equipped smartphones and digital cameras. Because the location data is not visible to the casual viewer, the concern is that many people may not realize it is there; and they could be compromising their privacy, if not their safety, when they post geotagged media online.

Disabling the geotag function generally involves going through several layers of menus until you find the “location” setting, then selecting “off” or “don’t allow.” But doing this can sometimes turn off all GPS capabilities, including mapping, so it can get complicated.

The Web site provides step-by-step instructionsfor disabling the photo geotagging function on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices.

Many of the pictures show children playing in or around their homes. Others reveal expensive cars, computers and flat-screen televisions. There are also pictures of people at their friends’ houses or at the Coffee shop they visit each morning.  By posting your pictures with GPS location on you are showing anyone in the world where you live and when you are away

Be aware….

Some Ways to Thwart an Online Bully

The New York Times provides some very interesting reading from time to time and one particaulr article did reach my inbox…. “Some Ways to Thwart an Online Bully”  I have added the link for you to have a look at.  It provides some ways of fighting back if you happen to fall prey to a bully.

“TODAY’S bullies are not restricted to cafeterias, gym class and schoolyards. With technology, they can appear in every digital corner of a modern child’s life. But parents and children can take heart. Technology can also be harnessed to combat online bullies………………………”


A new digital craze from the USA is about to hit Australia.

They have fallen victim to an insidious new digital drug culture that preys on vulnerable young teens with money to burn.

With nothing but an mp3 player and an internet account they can can legally download ‘binaural’ audio downloads that claim to deliver a “high” that can mimic drugs like LSD and Crystal Meth.

Full Story:

One to One Learning – Laptops

The Headmaster has announced earlier in the year that the College will commence a systematic roll out of laptops to students over the next 3 years.  Commencing in 2011 Years 7 and 10 will be the first year that will receive them.  Currently they will be Apple Macbooks that will be duel boot operating Windows 7 and the apple OS

Further details will be released by the Headmaster early in term 3 and more info can be located here and on the College website.

College moves away from HP to Xerox

After a number of years the College is starting to move its fleet of printers from HP to Xerox.  The move was initaited due to the lack of after sales service from HP.

Having to deal with HP service was becoming more and more frustrating, wating for long periods of time and nearly having to sell your first child to get a technician to service a fault with a printer.  All our printers are purchased with Next business day onsite warranty..

New Server Upgrade

Over the last few days the College has upgraded its main servers……. believe it or not the “old ones” are now 4 years old.

We have bought again DELL servers…. I have been very impressed with the calibre of hardware and no downtime (Other then people cutting through main electrical cables !!)

Thanks to David our Network engineer for hi work in this area and the very late nights that occured during the week.

What are the specs (For you Tech geeks)… 4 x 6 quad core CPUS, 48 Gb RAM in each server1 of the 4 Dell Servers