Digital Citizenship & Cybersafety 

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Papanui High School is proud to be an official supporter of Netsafe's Netsafety Week! The internet has played a big part in keeping people connected over the past year – and that trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon – which makes it important that every person knows how to stay safe online.

Here are some tips:

1. Talk with family and friends about what is happening online.
2. Be a good digital citizen. Don't exclude or put others down. Respect someone's wishes if they ask you to remove something you've posted.
3. Think critically and avoid fake news. Seems too good to be true? Check the source and confirm the info by finding it on at least two other reputable sites.
4. Sharing nudes - no, not everyone is doing it. And if someone is putting pressure on you to do so, probably a sign they don't really respect you. There is support if your images get shared though. Talk to someone you trust.
5. Manage your digital footprint -  Remember that everything you post, even if private, is only a screenshot away from being shared. What does your digital footprint say about you? Would you be proud of it?  If not, give it a tidy-up!

When things go wrong:

1. Reach out and talk to someone you trust

2. Keep evidence (e.g. screenshots)

3. Use the report and blocking functions on your social media apps

Netsafe can help you with advice and support. You can make a report online, email them at [email protected] or give them a call on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723).

Digital Citizenship & Covid-19

Learning 'beyond the school gate'

  • email will be the principal method for finding out about what learning students are expected to do in each subject and for communicating with their teachers.
  • many teachers are organising their online learning via Google Classroom.  Parents can ask their children to show them this platform.
  • encourage your child to set up a study space. This may be a desk in their room or a space at the kitchen dining table.  Help them minimise distractions by turning off other media including their phones.
  • Whānau, caregiver, parent support is vital to strengthen your child's ability to self manage their learning. How might you ask your child "Are you on track?" You could encourage them to ask themselves these questions: 
        1. What am I being asked to do?
        2. Can I do this? If not, how will I seek clarity from my teachers or classmates? 
        3. What resources do I need or do I have to do this?
        4. What could distract me? How will I remove these distractions? 
        5. What would I rather be doing right now? 
        6. What opportunities are there for me in this task?
        7. What is my goal this hour? This morning?  today? 
        8. Am I on track? 

Covid-19 presents some special challenges in terms of digital citizenship: 

  • students media literacy skills are being put to the test as we are inundated with information about the virus
  • being separated from their friends and stuck at home could see students' screentime spike even more than usual
  • students may encounter cyberbullying online based on misconceptions related to the coronavirus

News and media literacy

  • students need to understand the downsides of our 'always-on' news culture. Too much information can overload us and cause extra anxiety. Some students' anxiety will stem from incorrect or incomplete information they are seeing on social media
  • this is an important time to help build children's literacy and critical thinking skills so they can identify what information they see is credible and what isn't. Before they react, they should slow down and ...
    • Check the source. Is the news from a reliable news organization? If not, it may be questionable.  See if other news organisations are reporting the same thing.

    • Look to see if there's more information to come. Does the article mention important details that aren't yet known?  If so, it may be better to wait for the whole story before deciding what to think or sharing.

    • Analyze for bias. Does the author or source organization have an agenda or purpose for talking about the story? If so, look for a different source.

  • talk to your children about lateral reading: determining online credibility of a source by opening multiple tabs to search for other information to validate the site's claims.

Media balance

  • talk with your children about how much time they are spending on devices and how it makes them feel
  • encourage them to set up a routine.  As a part of that, set time aside in their day to unplug and take in special moments in the analogue world
  • this could be a great time for students to take up a new hobby - learn the guitar, pick up a paintbrush, become a whizz in the kitchen.  Although they may be using resources online to support them, they will be building a range of skills offline.


  • set boundaries with your kids as to what is acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour to you.  Have that discussion.
  • talk with your children about empathy - the ability to step into the shoes of another and understand and share their feelings
  • for wider resources on cyberbullying, check out this article from,  or this page from the always brilliant (and NZ-based) Netsafe.

Netsafe has started a great campaign during the Covid-19 lockdown: Stay Connected, Stay Safe

American non-profit Common Sense Media inspired a lot of the material above.  They have further Covid-19 related resources for parents here.

Some resources for parents & caregivers to start conversations with their teenagers about their online world

At Papanui High School, our Year 9 and Year 10 Health programmes address cybersafety. However, what does this mean beyond the school gates?

We all have a role in helping our young people manage their cybersafety. 

To enable you to have an ongoing, positive conversation with your teenagers, here are some resources and tips from the Ministry of Education you might find helpful. 

  • The online world - what is your teenager connected to?
    • View: Teens and Tech: A new landscape
    • Read: 7 tips for parents
    • Read: Netsafe 2018 Staying Safe Online Guide
    • Ask: What are the benefits of online technology? What are the challenges for you and your teenagers?
    • Do:
      • Learn - Ask your child about what they do, how they use devices and who they talk to.  Learn about their activities. Check in regularly to see what has changed.
      • Agree - Create a family code with your child to agree on what they can do online including sites to visit, appropriate behaviours, privacy settings and limits
      • Plan - Make a plan so everybody knows what to do if something goes wrong and where you will be able to get advice and support in challenging times

School Newsletter write-ups

How to help your child when they have a problem online

Digital Devices and Sleep

Helping young people exposed to upsetting content online

Understanding Tiktok