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Parents put on notice

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The Council of Catholic School Parents is highlighting the need for parents to be aware of what is being communicated on social media apps - ubiquitous among children, teens and young adults - with one overriding goal in mind: protecting the young. Photo: Freepik.com
The Council of Catholic School Parents is highlighting the need for parents to be aware of what is being communicated on social media apps – ubiquitous among children, teens and young adults – with one overriding goal in mind: protecting the young. Photo: Freepik.com

Council urges mums, dads to know what’s going down on social media

A representative for Catholic school parents is urging them to take time to learn the latest social media trends and what apps their kids are using.

Wayne Davie, chair of the Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT, told The Catholic Weekly there is no substitute for learning about TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and emerging apps if parents wanted to know how to help keep their children safe online.

TikTok is particularly notorious for dangerous viral trends, and this year saw Australian paramedics issue a warning about a fainting challenge on the app which saw a spike in children needing treatment for head injuries and seizures after holding their breath until they passed out.

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The Council has been running free cybersafety webinars along with other educational webinars for parents and carers of students in partnership with the eSafety Commissioner.

CCSP Chair Wayne Davie insists parents must stay informed. The Council’s website is: https://www.ccsp.catholic.edu.au/ Photo: Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT
CCSP Chair Wayne Davie insists parents must stay informed. The Council’s website is: https://www.ccsp.catholic.edu.au/ Photo: Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT

“Parents and carers aren’t generally as tech savvy as their children and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest social media trends, but the reality is that cyberspace can be a dangerous place for children and they want to be able to keep their kids safe online,” Mr Davie said.

“We’re seeing more bullying and those types of things happening online and I think kids don’t have that ability sometimes to disconnect from that, they get drawn further down into it as it can reach them 24/7.

“The role of the parent is to make sure we are preparing our kids for that digital world and it’s really key for parents to understand the types of issues that our kids are dealing with because they’re very different to the issues that we dealt with at their age.”

A father of three daughters ranging from Year 12 to Year 6 student, Mr Davie said parents are much more willing to engage with their children’s social media use now than in the pre-pandemic days.

“During COVID we saw that social media can be fabulous for keeping people connected, and we appreciate that this is just the reality of their world,” he said.

“However we’re the primary educators of our children so the more we educate ourselves, the better we can educate our children on safe ways to use social media.

“If you just look at TikTok for example, there are some great things on there and it’s a way of sharing in a really positive and happy way. But there is that darker side and that’s a conversation we need to have with our kids.

“We need to be engaged with them in this space because there are always new trends and new applications coming out and the kids move on to them very quickly,” he said.

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