Be safe, keep safe—online

This blog was originally posted in 2017 and updated in October 2020.

Meeting, learning, chatting, listening and sharing online is all part of the Be You experience. We have many places where you can go to join our online learning community. Here you can connect with others who are interested in growing healthy minds and finding ways to explore Be You. As early childhood professionals when we get together online do we (or should we) behave any differently than we would if we were meeting in person?

We all adapt and modify the ways we communicate to suit the context we are in.  At the football we can be a fierce football barracker; at coffee with friends we can be a conversationalist and listener; at a conference—a storyteller and teacher.  Perhaps when we are in the online space, we aren’t so sure about the rules of engagement. And perhaps we do change!

To get the most out of the Be You online learning community there are three things to keep in mind:

1. Take care of yourself

The Be You self-care message is clear—when we are talking about mental health there can be triggers for some people. When you are in a webinar chat, or on social media, even in an email, only share what you feel comfortable and if you need support talk it through with someone. Remember always Stay Smart Online.

2. Take care of each other

Not only is it vital that we take care of ourselves in an online learning community, we must also take care of each other. That means when we meet online we consider other’s needs and feelings. We think about how we talk about our workplace and team, and we de-identify any information we share.

3. Take care of children

The ECA Code of Ethics describes our professional responsibility to ensure the protection and wellbeing of children is paramount. When we are talking about children it is vital we maintain confidentially and respect their privacy. Use strength based examples and don’t share personal information. Explore ECA eSafety: Professional Learning modules and the eSafety Commissioner

Digital communications can be an effective way to get feedback and start dialogues, but we should take into account the need to care for ourselves and those around us. Always remember that any online behaviour is contributing to your digital footprint in some way. Be conscious, have fun and see you online in a Be You online event.

Be You provides educators with knowledge, resources and strategies for helping children and young people achieve their best possible mental health. This article was first published by KidsMatter (now known as Be You) in 2015.

Be You

Early Childhood Australia’s Be You team is a highly qualified and experienced multidisciplinary team of professionals committed to promoting and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing in the early years. Together, with Be You partners, Beyond Blue and headspace, the ECA team support educators in implementing the Be You Professional Learning and continuous improvement processes across early learning services and schools.

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