Known as 'e-fit-m', the charter will help students navigate difficult online spaces and avoid the pitfalls that can sometimes impact young people online.
Included in the charter are eight key strategies that students are asked to commit to, covering topics such as appropriate responses to online bullying, disclosure of personal details, intellectual property infringement and protection against hackers.
The charter was launched last month at a student-run assembly, with speakers organized by the student leadership group.
“It’s an opportunity for them to understand the role of being a leader within the school environment, and the fact that they can have a significant impact on their peers and what happens within the school,” vice principal Paul Wadsworth says.
“it’s an important vehicle of recognizing the college is listening to the student body, that they have an important voice within our school and that they can particularly have an influence on what happens within the school and how they can interact with each other as students within the school, but also, you know, have an important role in terms of influencing decisions that might be made within the college itself.
“It’s that opportunity for … something to be put in front which is actually a student generated, a student led process, so I think that’s a really key component of this initiative; students providing guidance to the student body as to how to keep themselves safe and be responsible users of social media and the online environment.”
Attending the launch was Sonya Ryan, founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, a charity dedicated to online safety.
In February 2007, Carly, 15, was the first Australian to be murdered by an online predator.
Wadsworth says that Sonya's presentation had a strong impact on students.
“She spoke about the fact that this charter is an important way of looking at things like online bullying, seeking help from trusted adults when they need to, having the right security measures around their social media accounts, those sorts of things.
“The age of the students might mean that not all of them were ... familiar with the Carly Ryan story.
"Sonya spoke about the benefits of social media and how she thought the online environment was something that was really beneficial, but she also mentioned … some of the downsides of the online environment as well.”
Also attending the launch was a member of the crime prevention section of the South Australian state police, who spoke to students about their legal responsibilities.
“The support from those two organizations is really key to this as well, because it adds some gravitas I guess to the whole assembly and an understanding of why this charter is important,” Wadsworth says.
The project emphasised the potential of student leadership groups to take a leading role in new school initiatives.
“Something that’s really good for the other students to see is that when we’ve got students within the college who are prepared to stand up and say something needs to be done about this and then actively follow that through, it can have a significant impact for students and for the college itself as well.”