Across Globeducate schools, teachers and students marked Safer Internet Day, February 9th. The theme was Together for a Better Internet” with the aim to inspire a conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, and creatively. Safer Internet Day is a global celebration in more than 170 countries.
During a prolonged period of online schooling for many of our students, and a recognition of students spending more hours than ever online, this year´s Safer Internet Day held even more importance. The positive side to students being digital natives who are “always on” means students can learn and connect with others easier – and there have been many positives. However, there has been widespread acknowledgement that we need to reinforce internet safety and schools have taken a variety of approaches.
Topics covered have included: online privacy, creating an effective cyberbullying reporting system, keeping teachers, parents and students updated on new technology and privacy settings, and learning how to determine reliable sources of news.
ICS London school celebrated Safer Internet Day by Year 2 students reading a story, “Detective Digiduck”, about how the Internet can display fake information, and how to choose reliable websites. To make this event even more exciting, IB Diploma students created their own stories and made videos about safe internet use for the Primary students to watch during their assembly.
Agora International School Portals celebrated the day by creating a survey on what social media Year 6 students use, how many of them have accounts and whether these accounts are private or open to public and if they accept friend requests from people they don’t know. Students were invited to share unpleasant or scary experiences they had while gaming and chatting with unknown players online, which led to a class discussion on their experiences to help students understand the various situations that they might face while “surfing” online and why they should be safe online. The teachers hosted workshops on the day about controlling information, looking beyond our screens, understanding cybersecurity and the correct use of new technologies. This was a great way of helping students understand the importance of being safe online and learning about safer internet day.
Some of our schools held interactive webinars and invited parents to join. Nobel International School Algare´s IT Manager Fernando Silva led an online workshop outlining the ways in which we can ensure students are protected. Southlands International School invited renowned internet safety expert Jon Taylor to talk to students from Year 4 to Year 12. In a series of age-appropriate online workshops, he highlighted behaviour that can be dangerous without even realising it, for example:
– location services being used in tandem with photos to track us
– spyware being used to hijack our cameras.
He also gave examples of how to ensure that our “digital tattoo” is something to be proud of, through curating positive content in blogs and ensuring social media profiles reflect the best aspects of ourselves. He warned about poor choices now having potentially devastating effects on students´ future opportunities.
“The enduring message, delivered with Jon´s characteristic warmth and care, was that it is the responsibility of every member of the school community to keep each other safe online: students, staff and parents must all work together to protect each other from harm, to expose risk and support anyone who has been a victim of cyberbullying or any other form of online harm. We are looking forward to Jon´s second virtual visit before Easter.”
Tor Del Federico, Head of School, Southlands International School, Rome