A recent article from USA TODAY writer Mary Beth Marklein has highlighted the fact that ‘America’s K-12 teachers are ill-prepared to educate students on the basics of online safety, security and ethics, and more than a third of teachers receive no training in cybersecurity issues, according to a coalition of government and private technology experts’. (CourierPostOnline, http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110504/NEWS05/110504010/Survey-Educators-lack-training-teach-online-safety)
Cybersafety is one of the most topical threats to our young people today. The Cybersafety umbrella covers bullying, fraud, security, theft – all kinds of safety issues related to technology and communications carriers. Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (USA) reflects that ‘In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math.’ Alarmingly, of the 1 600 educators surveyed, 36% revealed that they receive NO Cybersafety training from their employers.
At Coomera Anglican College, we have been proactively addressing Cybersafety, in formal training and students-based initiatives, for the past three years. These initiatives include training and workshops for parents, students and teachers courtesy of the ACMA, and successful use of web based resources such as Digizen.
During Terms Two and Three of 2011, we will again be focusing on Cybersafety in the classrooms. In a full and rigorous curriculum, it can be detrimental to add another curriculum element at the expense of existing content. Our Cybersafety activities will be implemented during Pastoral Care, assemblies, RAVE classes and for homework. Complemented by informal reinforcement and discussions by our fantastic and dedicated teachers, we are very confident that all our technologically active and social networking students will be exposed to positive and safe strategies for using technology. This is not a guarantee that there won’t be any incidents related to technology perpetrated by our students. It is a guarantee for our parents that we are serious about the safety of our students, and serious about holding students accountable if they knowingly choose to use technology in a negative, dangerous or hurtful manner.
It should be noted that bullying and Cyberbullying are the same actions, committed using different mediums and methods. The College’s bullying and bystander policies are clear, and relate to any form of bullying.
Here are a couple of hard and fast rules for all users of technology:
- Never share your passwords with anyone other than your parents or husband / wife
- If you write or post text or images on the internet, they are accessible to anyone at anytime. Even if content is deleted, it can often be retrieved by a number of methods
- To quote the Bible – ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’
- Claiming that a negative action (posting nasty comments, setting up fake Facebook pages, etc) is ‘only a joke’ is not acceptable (see above)
- If you would feel uncomfortable doing something on the computer with Dr Sly or your Grandmother watching over your shoulder, than you should definitely not be doing it
If you have any concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to contact your teacher for advice or action. Parents, students and teachers are all stakeholders in the safety of our College community members.