eSmart is a long-term change program designed to educate, track, monitor and prevent bullying and cyber bullying. eSmart Schools is tailor-made for schools and designed to effect change in that specific environment.


Also see: Parent and carer education programs at Westgarth.

Victoria Police Visit Westgarth
Students were presented with four elements to remember in order to be responsible digital citizens when using online environments:
RESPECT others online
THINK before you post or send anything
STAND UP to cyber bullying that you witness
REPORT anything that scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable

Much of the content presented was in conjunction with the website.  This site is highly recommended and has an array of ideas and support for both school and home.  The Parents Portal section of the website will be particularly useful if you child is in the senior school.

Online Gaming

Gaming has become incredibly advanced over recent years.  PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles produce more realistic graphics than ever and now offer online connectivity like we have never seen before.

As a parent, it’s important to know that when your child subscribes to an online service for gaming, such as PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live then they are almost certainly going to experience some form of online interaction with other people.  This can be through messaging applications preinstalled on the console or via voice and 'party' chats.

It is a good idea to always have gaming consoles that are connected to Wi-Fi in a visible place in the home, such as a family room.  Be sure to check in on what games your child is playing as some games, such as the popular Fortnite, are rated M in Australia due to violence and online interactivity.  Such games are also often free to download and play.

You can check what games have been downloaded onto your child’s gaming console by checking the email that is connected to the subscription.  If something doesn’t look right, be sure to question it!


There is a lot of hype around the video game Fortnite this year and if you have a child in the senior school, then you may have heard them talk about it with their friends.

So what is Fortnite?  It is essentially what is referred to as a ‘sandbox’ game which requires the player to move around a virtual world and make independent decisions about what they would like to do and when.  The most popular mode is ‘Battle Royale’, meaning the last person standing from 100 people is the winner.

The UK Safer Internet Centre has some useful information for parents regarding this game, including:

  • How Fortnite accounts are created
  • How players can easily chat and play with real people (often strangers) in an online environment
  • How in game/app purchases are made
  • The levels of violence in the game
  • What platform your child might be playing the game on
  • How players can report other users that behave inappropriately

At Westgarth PS we recommend that you have open and honest conversations with your child about the use of digital technologies.  This may require you to take time and play games with your child and get a feel for whether they are appropriate or not.  Always remember that all devices should be used by your child in a shared area of the house in order for you to monitor the apps and games that they are using.

National eSmart Week 2018
Westgarth is an eSmart school and value the commitment to raise a generation of smart, safe and responsible children who are capable and compassionate – both on and offline.


As communicated via the newsletter, last week was National eSmart Week.  To celebrate, classroom teachers spent some time revising, discussing and setting learning tasks that asked students to think about what being smart, safe and responsible online looks like.


Some of our Brooke St. classes read the picture book titled The Internet is Like a Puddle.  The text attends to the wonderful aspects of electronic communication as well as gently discussing some of the possible pitfalls of sharing, chatting and using technology.  The Internet is Like a Puddle describes ways to stay safe, enjoy learning and chatting time on the Internet and to keep life balanced.


The book is part of the 'Big Hug' series that addresses big issues that children face in the world.  It is written by Shona Innes who is a clinical and forensic psychologist with many years of experience in helping others.




Above: A page from The Internet is Like a Puddle


The Internet is like a Puddle can be purchased from the National Library of Australia bookshop


Computer health checks

Computer virus’ are certainly not fun.  They can install and wipe files onto your computer and even attempt to steal your personal information.  There are a few actions that you can take if you suspect that your computer or tablet device requires a health check-up:

  • Disconnect from the Internet immediately (turn off your modem if you have to!)
  • Ensure that your anti-virus software is up to date.  Providing it is; run a scan using the software.  If an item pops up that looks suspicious, take it straight to the computer repair shop.
  • Be sure not to open any spam texts or emails.
  • For iOS devices, ensure that any software updates are completed

Referencing and plagiarism

Using someone else’s information or words without making it clear where you got them from is a form of cheating called plagiarism.  When you use ideas from a website in your work, you should always include the web address, the date you accessed the information, and the author’s name (if possible). 


Identifying credible sources online

There is stacks and stacks of useful and fun stuff on the web - but remember that nearly anyone can put nearly anything on a website and call it fact - so it pays to think about who’s written the information you’re reading, and why they’ve written it. Here are some useful tips for when students are researching information on the Internet:

    •  Firstly, have a look at the ‘domain’ of the website – sites that are associated with government (.gov or or education facilities (.edu or are generally pretty reliable.
    •  Remember to use a bit more caution with websites that are .org,, .com, or – or those that have a person’s name in the web address.
    • Find the clues within the site that may give you an indication as to whether you can trust the content.
    • It’s a good idea to look at the ‘About Us’ section of the website (if there is one). It’s usually a good indication of what interests, bias or attitudes the site’s authors have.

Generally, if the person or organisation who has written the website is credible in the real world, you can have some trust in the information they’ve put in the web.

If you’re not sure it’s reliable, it’s probably best not to use it for school work or rely on it too heavily.

Block explicit results on Google

You can filter explicit search results on Google, like pornography, using the SafeSearch setting. SafeSearch is not 100% accurate, but it helps you and your child to avoid explicit content.  You can use SafeSearch as a parental control to help protect children from inappropriate search results on mobile phones, tablets and computer. Follow these three easy-to-follow steps to turn SafeSearch on your child's devices.


Facebook - Who has your data?

While 13 is the minimum user age required by Facebook, some children below this age open an account. Television and newspaper reports have recently prompted some social media users to question who has access to their personal data. To find out who has access to your data:

1. Log into Facebook and choose 'Settings'.

2. Click 'Download a copy of my data'.

3. Click 'Start my archive'.

4. An email will be sent when a copy of your data is ready to download.

5. Download your data archive via the email link.

Refer to Tips for reducing the data stored by Facebook to limit your social media footprint.


Guided Access for iOS Devices

Did you know that you can temporarily restrict an iPad, iPhone or iPod to a specific app?  This is called Guided Access mode and is particularly useful in setting tasks for your child without the concern of them detouring onto web-based or non-educational games.  Please note that it is essential that children are always supervised when using technology, even when Guided Access is activated.  To learn how to set up Guided Access on your iOS device visit

eSafety Commissioner's iParent

iParent provides guidance for using safety settings on your family’s web-connected devices, tips for choosing movies and games and strategies for keeping young people safe online.

Blogging and posting photos of your childBlogging about your child or posting photos of him/her can be a nice way to share your child’s special moments. But it is worth thinking about how the photos and information you post will become part of your child’s digital footprint. Find out more in this article from the Australian Parenting website.


8 tips for a healthy digital life

The Australian Psychological Society outlines eight tips for a healthy digital life. Tips include checking social media accounts less often, setting boundaries and connecting with friends offline. Find out more at:


Parents' guide to online safety

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has a concise guide for parents that has issue-focussed information and advice for parents of children of all ages. Topics include cyberbullying, social networking, sexting, inappropriate content and online safeguards. 


Games, apps and social networking

The Australian Government's eSafety Commissioner website contains quick guides to popular social media sites and apps. Find out how to protect your child's privacy setting, age restrictions for social media sites and how to report cyberbullying or abuse.