I personally do not remember how cyber safety was approached in my own school. I don’t remember any teacher having conversations with us about how to be safe online. I definitely had these conversations with my parents and they scared me to be safe for sure. I was scared to post anything because they said people would be able to figure out where I live. They also warned me to add random strangers on any social media site. Being the nervous child I was, I listened because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to me. I think that the fact that I don’t remember any of these conversations from school says a lot. I believe that they didn’t really affect me because they were not effective. They weren’t memorable because they didn’t scare me enough. I believe that the scare tactic approach used by my family was very effective for me and it did in fact cause me to be very safe online.
I also want to make a note that when I was younger, the internet just started to develop so I don’t think there was a lot of knowledge about it at this time. We have a lot more information and data about it now which would make it a lot easier to teach students about how to safely use it than there was when I was a kid.
Something I distinctly remember from my childhood was hanging out with one of my friends who was much more adventurous online. She would talk to random strangers on the KIK app (a messaging app) on our IPods and IPhones. She would also go on some website where you could video chat with random strangers. I was always so scared when she would do this but despite what I said, she would keep doing it. Now being older and looking back on that I realize how badly that could have turned out for her. She is lucky that nothing major happened and that it didn’t get carried away like it did for Amanda Todd.
Knowing what I know now and wanting to be a teacher, I think that it should be mandatory for children to learn about how to be safe online. I do think that scaring them is the best tactic. Showing older students the Amanda Todd video could show them just how dangerous it can be online. Obviously you would need to show them age appropriate things and be careful not to show them things they will not understand. Students in grade 4 and up should be learning about cyber safety because this is the age when they start going online. This should be incorporated in the Saskatchewan Curriculum.