Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fun and safe in cyberspace!

At the end of last year my school held our latest digital citizenship week. Such events are a great way to raise the profile, among both students and teachers, of issues relating to the safe, effective, and ethical use of online resources. Teachers from different grade levels spent one or two of their class periods delivering a lesson around various issues relating to digital citizenship. For example, I spent a double period with my students exploring the use of copyrighted images and Creative Commons materials. Other teachers looked at digital footprints, online security, and cyberbullying. 

Students having fun at the Thai ETDA.

There are many digital citizenship resources available online. However, one of the key ones for me is Common Sense Media. In fact, they even offer certification in digital citizenship for both schools and individual teachers, which my school and our participating teachers have now achieved, thanks to my colleague James Sayer

As part of our efforts to raise awareness of digital citizenship, we asked our students to complete an anonymous online questionnaire about their experiences around cyberbullying. This was done prior to digital citizenship week, so it is possible that many students were unaware of exactly what constitutes cyberbullying. In total, 156 students responded to the survey. Of these, 45% reported that they had not been cyberbullied, but sadly 14% said they had been (see the infographic, below). However, quite a high proportion of respondents (41%) reported that they didn't know if they had been cyberbullied. This is likely to be a reflection of the fact that many students were not aware of each type of cyberbullying. However, 63% of respondents stated that they knew of someone who had been cyberbullied. 

Among the students who reported they had been victims of cyberbullying, only 40% had actually reported it, most commonly to their parents (40%).  

In addition to the activities carried out in school, our Year 8 students were fortunate enough to be invited to Thailand's Electronic Transaction Development Agency for a half-day of activities relating to digital citizenship, including cyberbullying awareness-raising. The students were able to take part in a variety of different games as well, which they all really enjoyed, so thanks must go to the ETDA staff for all of their hard work in organising the event!

As a result of digital citizenship week, plus the visit to the ETDA, it will be interesting to see if and how the responses to our survey change when we present it to students again for next year's digital citizenship week. The more we educate our students about how to navigate the online world, the safer their cyberspace interactions will be. 

Cyberbullying survey infographic (Courtesy of my colleague James Sayer).