Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, recently introduced an educational cybersafety initiative within primary schools. I believe a lot of schools are discussing and dealing with cybersafety already but this initiative was included within the curriculum’s Life Education Program and therefore can’t be missed by any student now.
This is all good news for kids and parents. Fortunately there are plenty of good interactive learning game environments already set-up for helping kids become more cyber aware. Here are a few from Australia, the USA and Canada:
- budd:e cybersecurity builder – I’ve blogged about this in the past HERE
- FBI Cyber Surf Islands – for the middle years; grade 3 to grade 8
- Media Smarts Educational Games – Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy
But these learning games and government initiatives will not work alone! I think we all need to be on-board with teaching kids about online safety and ALSO about all of the benefits of being online. The common problem I see is FEAR. I’m a mother I do understand this fear but I don’t think showing this fear by limiting Internet access, banning sites and worrying your kids excessively helps. I have met teachers that are so full of fear of the Internet and what their students may see or do online that they simply don’t enhance their learning/teaching with the Internet (that’s sad, don’t you think?!).
Along with all of this good information and interactive games we also need to show kids how to act responsibly and how to enhance their learning by working and socialising on the Internet. We need positive role-models, we need teachers and parents who do not fear the Internet and use it often in positive ways. We should be teaching our kids about ethics and morals anyway and this should be integrated with discussion about online activity. Once we have cyber literate students then we can benefit from all of the wonderful ways that teaching & learning can be incorporated with Internet use.
Most of all, we should be listening to our kids and learning about their interests, their worries and finding out what they need to learn.