Cyber Safety & Anti-Bullying

I was introduced to cyber safety in school through a couple different formats, but most commonly I remember it being taught alongside anti-bullying campaigns. I remember listening to various guest speakers who came to the school to discuss anti-bullying mentioning the impacts of cyber safety in regards to bullying. Many shared personal stories and explained the consequences. Furthermore, we had dramatic-theatre companies such as  Persephone’s Theatre come and perform different skits for us related to the topic as well. Bringing in guests to cover the topics we were learning in class was beneficial as it gave us more understanding of the importance of being a cyber safe digital citizen.

Furthermore, students participated in video viewing assignments that made us think about why certain behaviours were unsafe online (ex: sharing your address or personal information). We also examined current events related to media use and how regardless of when we posted, we are accountable for what the post contains. A particular example of this was a discussion based on a current event referencing a tweet by Donald Trump.

I found this approach to be fairly successful, based on the impact it has had on myself and my classmates. Before we engaged in these learning opportunities several of us were using Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I’m not saying that we necessarily behaved in unsafe ways, we just weren’t aware of the expectations and responsibilities assigned to us when participating in digital citizenship. Once we were, our posts became more ‘professional’ as we understood future employers may decide to not hire us based on our digital footprint and behaviours online. Overall, I feel my school tried to approach cyber safety in an informed manner, even if they used some minor scare tactics along the way.

Although this  appraoch was beneficial, I beleive it is also important to know the spaces and places where it can be very unsafe for children to be. Get to know the apps and sites your students talk about. Do some digging, engage with and explore some of the add-ons such as friend adding options. Try using different filters within the program to see what comes up. Take the time to create cyber-safety lessons surrounding the apps that the students do use based on your own research. By presenting the information in format or on a topic that matters to students, they are more likely to engage in a more positive manner.

In conclusion, engaging with cyber safety should not be approached in a singular way. The more diversity one can bring into the discussion of cyber safety, the better equipped one is to participating in safe online practises.

4 Replies to “Cyber Safety & Anti-Bullying”

  1. I agree with your approach Kaelynn. I do think that one of the most impactful things you can do with students is to have discussions and to discuss the good and the bad. Scare tactics don’t always work. Hearing different experiences and discussing them is just as good of learning experiences.

    1. Totally! Taking the time to discuss the pros and cons allows one to develop a better plan for navigating the online world.

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