Educating Our Girls On Contemporary Issues

World-renowned drug and alcohol specialist, Paul Dillon recently spoke to students in Years 10, 11, and 12. Delivering a 90-minute session to each year group, Paul spoke on issues associated with alcohol and drugs, as well as the dangers of vaping.

Paul covered each topic in depth, with factual data gathered from recent medical studies and real-life examples of their misuse. Paul is an engaging speaker and was able to share with students in a manner that encouraged responsibility, and mature decision-making. He focussed on how they might help a friend in trouble and how they can effectively seek support to keep themselves and others safe.

Paul was also informative on the current laws and state fines in place for illegal activity such as the use, possession, and supply of drugs. He finished his address with brain science on the effects of alcohol on the underdeveloped brain and reminded participants that the female brain is not fully formed until the age of 21. At the end of the session, students were reminded to consider downloading the Emergency Plus app as a safety measure to have on their phones in case of any unwanted emergency.

Paul Litherland from Surf Online Safe also presented to our Years 5, 6, 7, and 8 students about online safety.

Paul talked to the girls about social networking sites being the modern-day playground. His presentation gave them some insight into how they can keep themselves safe in this space, so they don’t get hurt or embarrassed.

Paul suggested to the students that they needed to adjust behaviours to minimise risk. His research illustrates that only 33% of kids will take the time to actively explore their devices, the apps they are using, and their settings whilst using those apps.

Paul encouraged the girls to take the time to look around social media apps before rushing in to use them. He stressed the importance of being proactive, rather than reactive, to minimise negative consequences.

A very helpful piece of advice was that the reporting of poor behaviour online is frequently not acted on as the software won’t pick up on the breach. Furthermore, if poor behaviour is reported, social media networks sometimes cannot cope with the volume of breaches.

If the girls do need to report any poor online behaviour, for example, bullying, and want support from the social media app, then this needs to be done multiple times – five by them, and five times by five others. This is more likely to prompt a response from a person, rather than a machine.

Paul also reported that kids aged 12 – 15 are the highest risk takers in the online world, often forgetting how far their posts can go and who can see them.  This is an important point for the girls to understand, that it isn’t only their close friends who can see their online content, unless they have strong privacy settings in place.

Paul also shared stories with the girls of how easy it is for someone to infiltrate a friendship group and pose as someone the girls might know, causing them to accept friend requests from randoms.  He challenged them to ensure they know all their online friends and to check with others before accepting friend requests.

We hope that you will continue to have conversations with your daughters about the presentations from Paul Litherland and Paul Dillon, reflecting on what she learned. 

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