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Teaching eSafety through dance

Online games are as much a fact of life for young people as mobile phones or computer screens. The esports phenomenon has truly entered our lives - it is the fastest growing sport in the world and will be featured in the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games and as an Olympic-licensed event.

As with all online pursuits, gaming and esports presents dangers. Indeed, the World Health Organisation now includes 'Gaming Addiction' as an International Classified Disease. While too much gaming can be harmful, playing online games can, if harnessed appropriately, be positively associated with wellbeing.

For our young people, it has never been more important to talk about healthy and safe online game play. People play online games to have fun, reduce stress and for the cognitive challenge.

Over two exciting days, the Cato Room at our St Kilda Road Campus radiated with laughter and squeals of delight as we welcomed 100 students from 20 schools from across Victoria to compete face-to-face in the FUSE Cup ‘Just Dance’ esports competition. Wesley was well represented with teams from each campus in the Year 5/6 competition and a St Kilda Road team in the Year 7/8 competition.

This wasn’t just about students coming together to have fun and compete playing video games. There was also a strong emphasis on CyberSafety and raising students’ awareness about the impact of gaming on our thinking and behaviours and helping them understand the addictive qualities of gaming. The ‘Just Dance’ competition explored these serious themes in an engaging and age-appropriate context.

With representatives from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and Kids Helpline present at the competition, digital wellbeing was embedded in the competition with breaks throughout the day delivering messages on ‘Bullying within Online Gaming’ and ‘Gaming Addiction and Microtransactions.’

Watching the students cheer each other on and provide support to their teammates when they didn’t make it through to the next round was heartening to witness as it showed two of the key tenets of our ROAR Approach to Learning and Wellbeing – Respect and Resilience – are alive and well at Wesley.

While Wesley didn’t come away with a trophy, we were thrilled to watch Year 6 Elsternwick students, Caitlin Price and Conor O’Donoghue, progress to the knock-out rounds, with Caitlin awarded second place in the individual event. We congratulate all of our students for their efforts and the wonderful attitude they displayed throughout the day.

Here are some snapshots from the event.