Information for Parents
At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we believe that it is our shared responsibility as educators and parents/guardians to ensure that students are equipped to behave as responsible Digital Citizens in an increasingly complex digital world. It is likely that starting in their elementary years, many children have already gained access to the internet, perhaps even outside of the home or the classroom, in an unsupervised environment, such as through a friend’s phone.
"Samaritans on the Digital Road" - a resource for the Ottawa Catholic School Board community to help develop Digital Citizenship skills.
This resource is built upon the shoulders of Jesus' parable about The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Each grade (K-12) will explore the meaning of one verse as it relates to being an online citizen while completing five lessons created specifically to address the challenges found at each grade.
- Help your child be discerning about information that they see online. Encourage ‘critical literacy’, reminding them that not all things they find online are factual. For some useful resources visit https://mediasmarts.ca
- Remind your son or daughter that a "punch" online still hurts. The way they behave online is still a reflection of who they are as a real person.
Keeping your son or daughter safe online:
- Review the OCSB Acceptable use Policy (see below) with your son or daughter every year.
- Be aware of the dangers of sharing personal information.
- Encourage reporting of inappropriate content.
- Remind your child that bullying occurs online. Encourage positive, polite and affirming relationships online and elsewhere.
- Youth should be aware that there are legal implications and consequences to the inappropriate use of images, cyberbullying, plagiarism and hacking.
- Plagiarism occurs when a student uses another person’s work or ideas and represents it as their own. It is a serious offence of academic dishonesty and can be grounds for dismissal from most colleges and universities. The internet has made it easy to copy other people’s work. As such, it is important that we teach students how to properly credit sources and how to generate and share their own ideas.
- Remind your son or daughter to keep their passwords secret.
Acceptable Use Policy:
- At the beginning of each school year, you and your child will be asked to sign the Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement. (K-6) (7-12)
- The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that parents and students are fully aware of their responsibilities when using board-owned or their own technology at school. It is important to know that the policy states that “access to network services is a privilege given to users who agree to use the services in a responsible manner. Inappropriate use may result in a suspension or cancellation of access privileges.”
- The OCSB Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy can be accessed from ocsb.ca or at this link.
Monitor Screen time
- Be aware of how much time your child spends online. You can set a schedule for family time when everyone unplugs. Negotiate a time prior to bedtime when your child can turn off their devices.
- Blue light and ongoing notifications can have an effect on sleep. Suggest a suitable place to store electronic devices to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.
Go to: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side for an article outlining the risks associated with too much blue light at night.
- Encourage a healthy balance to leisure time. Ensure that your child has time for outside play.
The Student Portals:
All students in the OCSB have access to a variety of digital tools. In the Student Portals, you and your child will find resources that you can use to support your child’s learning at home. The portals can be accessed by going to your son or daughter’s school website and clicking on the “student portal” tab or you can use the links below.
Student Google accounts:
All students in the OCSB have a Google account. This gives them an email address, Google drive, Calendar and Sites. Students should be reminded that their Google account belongs to the school board and they should only use it for school-related tasks.
GSuite for Education provides a collaborative environment in which students can create and share documents, slide decks, and spreadsheets, amongst other things. Many teachers will use GSuite for Education to share assignments with students and/or to provide feedback on student work. As well, many teachers encourage students to submit assignments via Google Drive.
Their email address will be something like “firstname.lastname@example.org” (however, sometimes students may have the same name as another student in the board and their address will require a 1 or 2 after their name). To find out a student’s email address, ask your child’s teacher.
To login to their gmail account, students can go to www.mail.google.com or click on the mail icon in the student portal. (Note: students in grades K-6 are limited to internal board email)
Students use their OCSB gmail address and password to login to their Google Drive.
All OCSB students also have a youtube account using their gmail address and password. These accounts are set to “restricted mode” which blocks some content and comments. You can learn more about restricted mode here or watch this video to find out how to set up "restricted mode" on your own computer.
Cell phone use during the school day:
Many students have smartphones and these can be useful devices for learning as well as communicating with others. When in a classroom setting we ask that parents support the use of these devices for learning only. Because these devices can be very distracting for students it is important to define parameters for their use during school. Should students require to communicate with parents, we encourage them to approach their teachers at an appropriate time, explaining their reasoning. Then, when there is a good opportunity in class, to find a moment to send the text. Otherwise, educators will refer to the "Acceptable Use Agreement" in which it elaborates on the Educational and proper use of devices in school.
When students first access their Google accounts, they are assigned a password. They should change it to one that they will remember but that is not easy to figure out. If a student forgets their password, their teacher can reset it for them. They should not share their password with anyone except their teacher and/or you. Unfortunately, friends do not always remain friends and there have been a number of serious cyberbullying incidents that were made possible due to the sharing of passwords.
- Visit your son or daughter’s school's website and www.ocsb.ca on a regular basis.
- CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) means that schools cannot send you electronic messages without your express consent. This includes notification about upcoming school events, drama productions, school photos, yearbooks, and fundraisers. Make sure that you have agreed to receive messages from your child’s school so that they can keep you informed.
- Follow OCSB Twitter Accounts and Hashtags
Here are some to get you started:
‘The Sneaky Ways that Blue Light Affects Kids and Sleep’
‘Using Technology to Lure your Children to the Great Outdoors’
‘Kidsmart’ A UK website to encourage digital literacy.
‘Common Sense Media’ A website that deals frankly with issues relating to social media such as sexting and cyberbullying. As well, it includes movie, book and video game reviews specifically to help parents make decisions about their appropriateness for their child.
TVO - The education section of TV Ontario’s website includes homework help, lessons, articles about current practices in education and mPower (a math game).
'6 Nova Scotia teens charged with sharing intimate photos of 20 girls without consent'
'Ruined: When Children Themselves Feel the Full Brunt of Child Pornography Laws'
'Teen faces charges in connection with school board hack'