What I want them to know – Cyberlife
I am preparing a series of lessons on ‘cybersafety’ for 10-12 year olds. There is a plethora of amazing resources on the subject – heaps of interactive resources, on-line lessons, free speakers, activities etc etc. I have tried to filter the available resources, but keep coming back to the simple question “What do I want them to know?”
The reality is, they are already citizens of the internet, many have an on-line identity and all have at least surfed the internet. Some have their activities highly monitored by parents, some have a far more independent lifestyle. They will have encountered material and information that, at their age, I could not have dreamed of. They have learned things, experienced things that were not available or imaginable to me at their age. Most of this has been good – some not so.
In many ways, I believe that children are growing up faster (and that is sad) because of the internet. It is bringing into their homes information and experiences that the ‘real’ world may not have provided in other circumstances till much later in their lives.
Take, for example, the 9 year old girl, Amy, who has a FaceBook account (Yes, I know she isn’t allowed to under the TOS, but the reality is, she does, and many others do too). She has a number of online friends her own age and also many much older than her. She accepts offers from her older brothers Friends and becomes their ‘friend’. So it goes on and Amy accumulates 140 friends – yes, she has a relationship with most of these people – she can say, “That’s Fred’s cousin” etc However, in normal life, Amy would not be privy to all the news of these 16 – 19 year olds shenanigans. She would not see their photos from the drunken nights out or read messages between couples connecting and then splitting up publicly. Amy would have spent time with her 9 year old friends, talking 9 year old stuff. All of this is de-sensitising Amy. It becomes the norm and well before her chronological age would normally have her dealing with these things, she is soaking up material she really is not mature enough to handle.
So when planning the upcoming sessions, I wonder …..
What I want parents to know ….
- Your children WILL have an on-line presence – accept it and monitor it
- It is NOT acceptable to say “They know more about this sort of thing than I do” or “I don’t know what they are doing?”
- Talk to your children – I know they will not tell you everything, but hopefully if you open the gate, they will turn to you if needed.
What I want children to know ….
- The internet is a wonderful resource and tool
- You are vulnerable and not invincible – bad things do happen
- You can use the internet for many positive things – create a positive digital footprint
- You need to actively manage and plan your on-line presence
- There may be consequences to your online behaviour – activity now may be remembered later and you may not like that
- Just beacuse you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD – employ your moral compass when behaving on-line
- Think before you Post !
What I want teachers to know ….
- We have an opportunity to use the students on-line activity and interests to our advantage – encourage collaboration etc
- Pretending that student on-line worlds and school lives do not cross over is ridiculous – playground conversations etc are often the result of onlin behaviour
I know there is much more than that, but until my next edit 😉 these remain my focus.
Anyone with Wise Words of Wisdom for our learning about the World Wide Web?
Ideas, comments welcomed.