As part of our eSmart initiative and to kick off our annual ‘Bullying No Way!’ week, Macquarie College invited Australia’s foremost Cybersafety expert Susan McLean to speak to us about Cybersafety. Susan delivered a series of enlightening, informative and sometimes confronting workshops to our students, staff and parents.

Widely known as the ‘Cyber Cop,’ Susan was the first Victoria Police Officer appointed to a position involving Cybersafety and young people. After 27 years of distinguished service, during which she was the recipient of a number of awards and commendations, Susan resigned in 2009 to pursue her passion to work fulltime in the area of proactive Cybersafety education.

Parents, staff and students alike were thoroughly engrossed in her unique and dynamic presentations. Drawing on her own experiences as a Police Officer, Susan shared actual cases of cyberbullying and warned about the alarming prevalence of predators online.

Our Junior School students learnt about having respect and responsibility online.  They were told how to respect others by not being negative, posting nasty messages or pretending to be someone else and how to show responsibility by being careful not to post your personal information in places that aren’t safe.

She also spoke about websites and apps that have age restrictions such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Kik. Some students didn’t realise there were age restrictions for these sites and were shocked to learn what the legal age for those sites actually was. Susan challenged students to adhere to the age restrictions.

Susan stepped it up for our Senior Students, parents and staff by outlining some of the hazards students face living in an increasingly digital world. Hazards such as gaming addiction and both illegal and inappropriate behaviour highlighted the need for parents to be actively aware of what their children are doing online.

Right across the school, students have been focusing on taking a stand against bullying and committing to not being a silent bystander, rather speaking up when they see bullying happen.

Susan’s common sense approach gave our students, parents and teachers the information and strategies to confidently and effectively navigate the realm of social networking. If we work collectively as a school community, together, we can help keep our children safer online.