eSmart Schools

Bayswater Primary School is proud to be a member of 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:

  • 1 in 5 Australian children reported being bullied in the past 12 months
  • Children who experience bullying are more likely to experience a mental health issue
  • 1 in 7 children reported being cyber bullied in the past 12 months.

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:

  1. The structure of the school - schools set up a group to oversee the program in the school, and a system is set up for recording bullying complaints and how they are responded to. Schools regularly review the information collected to make sure they know if the actions they are taking to stop bullying and cyber bullying are working.
  2. Policies and procedures - schools look at their existing policies and procedures to make sure they describe exactly what the school is doing to stop bullying and cyber bullying, as well as having a step by step guide for teachers, parents and students to follow when seeking help if bullying or cyber bullying occurs. eSmart helps schools include the right ways to prevent and respond to bullying and cyber bullying.
  3. Respectful and caring school - students, parents and teachers work together to promote school-wide values and behaviours that describe the way they are all expected to behave. This focus area sees older students helping younger students; students acting as eSmart Leaders - helping teachers write policies, and presenting at school assemblies to their peers and parents.
  4. Teacher practices - this area focuses on teachers by making sure they are aware of the work taking place across all focus areas. Teachers are taught how important it is to role model the right behaviours, teach bullying and cyber bullying awareness in the classroom, are provided with opportunities to input into the school s policies and procedures, and how to follow the step-by-step guide if a student or parent has concerns about bullying.
  5. eSmart Curriculum - the focus is on teaching bullying and cyber bullying awareness in the classroom. An important aspect of this focus area is to run activities with students where they can input into the schools policies and procedures and develop anti-bullying messages in their own language.
  6. Parents and the community - this area focuses on ensuring parents are receiving consistent and constant messages relating to all focus areas. Schools will share policies with parents, include information in their newsletter about bullying and cyber bullying, showcase students work with anti-bullying messages and run parent workshops on bullying and cyber bullying

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.

To view some eSmart Resources that you could use at home to assist with eSafety, please click here.