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Every Child Has the Right to Feel Happy and Safe

By building stronger communities, we can create safer environments for children. We all have a role to play in protecting children from harm. There is an inherent link with caregivers and child protection as recognised by the National Child Safety Week launch this week.

During a period in my career, I worked as a Senior Advisor for Education Queensland in the Student Services area. One of my most difficult duties was to attend regular meetings with Taskforce Argus, investigating Child Abuse in Queensland. At that time, the first big wave of concern over social media interaction and online predators was very much the hot topic. I will admit to being shocked by what I learned in those early days of digital media.

This year Child Protection Week has a focus on introducing a child development communication framework to promote the messages that kids do well when parents are supported. To raise thriving kids, parents need support to navigate life’s choppy water.

Changing the Way We Communicate and Engage

As parents and teachers we have heard this before, we need to understand it can take time and careful consideration. I believe we should all revisit the points below regularly as we seek to make our children safe:

• Maintain direct and open communication with your child
• Where possible keep all internet capable devices in common family areas
• Know how to disable location services on your child’s smart device
• Check privacy settings on your child’s social media accounts
• Be aware of the social media sites on your child’s device
• Check your child’s online profiles and ensure the content is appropriate
• Consider password protected settings for installation of age appropriate applications on smart devices
• Consider installing filtering and/or blocking software on computers
• Know how to save copies of your child’s instant messaging chat logs
• Consider the “Family Internet Safety Agreement” developed by QPS
• Monitor your child’s phone plans and credit for unusual activity
• Consider what device you provide your child
• Children should be able to tell you the name of their online contacts
• Ensure you have access to your child’s accounts in order to monitor them
• Consider appropriate phone and data plans for your child’s age
• Consider syncing smart devices to a family account for easy monitoring

At Ambrose Treacy College we affirm our students with having courage in the moment. A courageous act changes perspective after choosing to act. A courageous act defines your values. A courageous act is a second of wisdom that can redefine someone’s future. We achieve this through our Formation Curriculum where we form the boys attitudes on issues such as child protection and safety. It is their right to feel safe.

I am proud to say that Ambrose Treacy College is forming a safe and COURAGEOUS community.

David Robertson
Head of Connacht House