The one thing that I wrestle with recently is the role teacher’s have in cyber safety and education. To me, teachers are expected to teach cyber awareness and how to be safe online. That is a given and I am comfortable teaching this. I am more than happy to raise awareness of the positives as well as the dangers online. The actual curriculum is not the issue. I am finding the constant calls to manage out of school social media problems the most challenging part in my role.
The surge in out of school cyber issues entering the classroom is nothing short of amazing. It feels like zero to one hundred in the last few years. Majority of issues I am dealing with are comments made online through games, social media accounts or You Tube, coming into school and starting again the next morning. I really feel for this generation. They go home to switch off, like we as adults do, have an incident and it stays unresolved at night and then comes to school the next morning to have to deal with. If I had an issue at school as a kid, I could at least go home and get space from it. And had the time to process it. There were no comments via games or people raising the issue and constantly commenting. Good luck calling a house phone and making your comments to that person's parents! I got the space to process things, to be free from the drama and spend time with my family. By the next day, the issue was forgotten, more manageable and I could move on. Now kids come home and the issues and name calling continue. Now, I am finding a pattern where new issues emerge the night before school in a game or chat and then have to be addressed again when the kids see each other face to face.
When this is constantly happening, I find my role challenging. My personal opinion is that all social media accounts are technical 13 years and over or with parent consent. Therefore, if it is illegal for underage children to be on social media, then schools shouldn’t pick up the slack for that decision. Part of me would love to issue a blanket statement that says “As the legal age for social media and certain apps is 13 years or over, all matters concerning cyber issues will need to be directed to the appropriate provider or authorities”. Strong words I know. Reality yes. Help fix the problem? No. This wouldn’t help fix the problem. It would shift the responsibility but wouldn’t help address wider issues nor would it help educate families. After all, often parents need just as much support and education as teachers, service provdiers and school systems do.
So what do you think would help address these issues? At this stage, I am open to suggestions.
#education #cybersafety #school