Bayswater Primary School is proud to be participating in the eSmart Schools Program.What is eSmart Schools?
eSmart Schools is the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s flagship eSmart program designed to help schools reduce cyber bullying and bullying and improve cyber safety. It was developed for schools by RMIT University in 2010 in consultation with cyber safety, bullying, education and industry experts from across Australia.
What is the difference between bullying and cyber bullying, and why should we be concerned about them?
Bullying is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond. Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults, and will probably continue if no action is taken.
While the bullying definition is broad and can occur in a variety of environments, it usually is a relationship problem and requires relationship-based solutions. These are best solved in the social environment in which they occur: in a child or young person's life, this is most often the school.
Cyber bullying is a type of bullying that takes place via digital technologies, including hardware such as computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms. Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying.
Peer bullying is widespread, although gradually decreasing:
Bullying is the most common form of violence faced by children and young people. The physical, psychological and emotional impact of violence on children is unavoidable and can be lifelong.
How is eSmart different from other bullying or cyber bullying programs?
It takes more than knowledge to change behaviour. In order to make a long-term positive change in the way people behave, the environment needs to be created in which the right behavior is the easy choice. Because of this, eSmart is based on proven behaviour change approaches such as SunSmart and Quit.
Take SunSmart as an example. Since the program’s inception, skin cancer incidence has decreased after years of increasing. Rates of skin cancer in young people are falling, and earlier detection of skin cancer is leading to better treatment and lifelong outcomes for all Australians. SunSmart doesn’t just focus on messaging - teaching children to “slip, slop, slap”. Schools are supported to create children’s play areas that are shaded, and a policy is key. In addition, teachers are expected to enforce the policies and provide classroom lessons on sun safety. Parents are also exposed to the same messages and encouraged to adopt the same behaviours.
eSmart takes a similar approach. Bullying is a complex issue and unfortunately there is no “silver bullet”. Reducing bullying and cyber bullying requires all members of the school and broader community to participate. Many programs exist to address specific aspects of the school’s approach to bullying, such as policy development, or focusing just on parents or students or teachers awareness and behaviours. eSmart is the only program that covers every area that schools need to work on. eSmart includes six areas focusing on teaching parents, students and teachers the right behaviours relating to bullying, cyber bullying and cyber safety whilst also focusing on creating a culture where bullying and cyber bullying is never ok. Starting young, reinforcing kindness and ethical behaviour. Bullying and cyber bullying thrive when children feel left out.
What are the six focus areas?
The focus areas are as follows:
eSmart leads schools to take action against bullying and cyber bullying that they may not have otherwise taken, thereby ensuring students, parents and teachers are all on the same page about what behaviours are acceptable and how to respond if bullying or cyber bullying occurs.