In this week’s Calling article I ask two questions;

  • Is your son ready for weeks 4 to 7?
  • Do you know who your son’s online friends are?

It has always been my view that Week 4 to Week 7 are the crucial ‘make it or break it’ weeks of every term. If your son has set himself up well in the first few weeks with good work and study habits then we should be fine. If he has still not broken the rhythm of the holidays then we may be in for a rough ride. Assignments are beginning to pile up, deadlines are getting closer and in my experience when our young men start falling behind with their work, their behaviour in class also starts to deteriorate. If as parents you feel that your son has set himself up for a rough ride through the assignment period please make contact with his teachers and House Dean so that we can organise the support that he requires.

Across the course of the last few weeks it has been brought to my attention that a number of our young men have been befriending people online who they don’t know. The concerns being raised centres mostly around the new game Clash of Clans. This game requires your son to join a clan and to fight with that clan. A number of our young men have joined clans over the holidays with people they believe go to St Patrick’s College. Unfortunately, our younger students in particular have no real proof that these people do in fact attend our College.

The second issue that has arisen is in relation to the game is the bullying that some of our young men are facing due to their parents now enforcing more appropriate school time / screen time rules. Over the course of the holidays many of our young men were allowed to have extended screen time which was great for the “Clan”. However, as school has returned, their screen time has been cut back to ensure other priorities are being met. This reduction in time is causing conflict between some of our young men and their so-called online friends. As we are all aware being part of the team is vital for teenage men, and when you risk being ousted from the team due to other time commitments conflict can occur.

Can I ask all our parents to discuss the nature of this game with their son and to check if the people in his clan are actually people who you as parents know. Below are two sets of rules. The first covers smart phone safety and the second covers online safety. Please take the time to consider these rules and the technology habits of your son.

Smart Phone Rules

  1. We own the phone. We know the security password or unlock pattern. If you want to download an app, come talk to us.
  2. Always respond to texts/calls from us. If a friend calls, answer it. Be polite.
  3. The phone lives in the main room. It is turned off during the evenings. It qualifies as "screen time," and its use follows our screen time rules, which is limited use on the weekends.
  4. Don't record audio or video of people without their knowledge.
  5. We can read your texts and check your photos and videos.
  6. Know that sharing photos and videos, as well as anything written, can be saved and shared without your knowledge.
  7. If the phone is lost, damaged or destroyed, you will have to go without and save up to repair or replace it.
  8. Don't give out any personally identifiable information, such as full name, date of birth, address, or phone number without our permission. Let us know if someone is asking for it.
  9. Do not use the technology to deceive or lie to others. It's not a prankster's tool. Do not text or use apps to be a bully. Assume that all parents are checking.
  10. Silence the phone at obvious times -- the dinner table, school, movies, restaurants and especially while conversing with others.

Staying Safe Online

  1. Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  2. Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it - it’s not just yours anymore.
  3. Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  4. Never give out your passwords.
  5. Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  6. Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do.
  7. Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
  8. Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
  9. Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  10. If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

Thank you for your support

Years 9 - 12 St Patrick's College Dance
  • Saturday 20 February
  • 7-10 pm
  • Sandgage PCYC, Kempster Street, Deagon
  • Cost: $15 (School ID required)
  • No singlets or thongs allowed

Sport Support Group: Parental assistance is requested to cater for the canteen during the Dance. Anyone able to assist, even for an hour or a half hour, please contact Mrs Sandra Fowlie at the College Office.

Are you missing water bottles or towels?

The student office has large amount of lost property, in particular water bottles. We also have a large amount of lost towels from last week’s swimming carnival. If your son has lost either of these, please ask him to collect from the Student Office.

Thank you for your continuing support,

Mr Darren Kearney - Dean of Students