Technology is a very powerful tool that enables effective teaching and learning. If not used safely, it can prove to be highly destructive.
What COULD Happen
Student A was caught watching inappropriate content online. He was watching cheating hacks and shared them with his friends. Soon, the video went viral and students were caught trying these hacks in their tests.
Student B became depressed and tried to harm herself because some students in her class body-shamed her on social media. Student B stopped going to school and often started falling ill. Her performance went down considerably.
Student C made a friend in a random chat room. This ‘friend’ turned out to be an online predator. This predator hacked his system and tried to intimidate him into doing things that student C did not want to do.
Student D went on a holiday and posted live videos and pictures on social media, tagging every place they visited. As a result, their house was robbed while they were away. Also, a stalker followed them throughout their trip, clicking pictures and finally making them viral on social media. It was a nightmare for the family.
Student E referred to a random blog to collect information on an assignment he was supposed to submit for an assessment. The student took about a week to complete the assignment, which was rejected because the source was not credible.
In order to avoid the risks that these five students faced because of the irresponsible use of technology, we should be sensitive towards the students and must know about cyber space professionally. Here’s what should happen if we want to avoid the repercussions of unsafe use of technology.
What SHOULD Happen
After listening to the stories of students A, B, C, D and E in a ‘Safety of CyberSpace’, Ms T, their teacher, gave all the students a flyer with the following information.
You MUST be aware of cyber laws
- You can access websites and tools if you meet the age criteria (many sites have age restrictions).
- You must refrain from using content that is copyright protected.
You MUST talk to parents/carers/teachers
- Your parents/guardians/caregivers/teachers must know the information you access online.
- If a website makes you uncomfortable, leave it immediately and inform an adult you trust.
You MUST be careful of making friends online
- Seek permission from a trusted adult before you share ANY information online- like photographs, address.
- Do not meet strangers or add them without permission from parents/guardians.
- Do not believe in what your friends tell you about online friendship.
- Fake profiles can easily be created online.
You MUST protect your privacy
Do not share the following information online:
- Full Name
- Home/School Address
- Email ID
- Phone number
- Travel plans
- Important dates
You MUST protect your reputation
- Remember, things on web can always be accessed
- If you don’t want someone to see any content, do not post it online
You MUST question what you read
- Do not believe in everything you read online
- Since anyone can post anything, there is a fair chance what you read and see is incorrect or biassed.
You MUST report cyber-bullying
- People use technology to bully other people, this is called cyber-bullying.
- Do tell a trusted adult if it is happening to you or someone else.
You MUST be careful when creating online accounts
- Do not give personal details or account usernames.
- Choose appropriate usernames and email addresses.
- Never EVER, EVER, EVER share your passwords with anyone.
- Use passwords with high strength so that they are not easy to crack.
You MUST follow Internet Etiquette at all times
- Do be respectful and polite online
- Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.
- Do be well mannered and avoid picking online fights.
You MUST keep a check on screen time
- Avoid making technology your best friend.
- Indulge in physical activities, go outdoors and stay away from the screen for some time during the day.
It is imperative for us, as educators, to fulfil the responsibility of ensuring the safety of our learners in every way possible.
If you want to dive deeper into this area of teaching and learning, please feel free to check out our course on Ethics and Values.