Today’s children and young students have the innate ability to navigate the Web and use technological devices. They are “digital natives”, they were born into the digital age and have never known a world without the Internet. Kids and teens take technology classes every day, they surf the Web for their projects, and they use the Internet during their spare time too, playing online video games, sharing their experiences on social networks and doing all sorts of “digital activities”.
The digital environment is still surrounded by prejudices and concerns above all regarding its use by children and teens. Teachers play a key role in educating young students on how to use the Internet – and technology in general – in a responsible and safe way, in order to help them build a strong awareness of opportunities and threats of cyberspace.
In GIIS, Dubai, during the ICT classes, students of grades 5 and above were taught with examples about the importance of cyber safety, protection of technological devices, safe sites for learning and research, prevention of cyberbullying and guidelines to prevent and handle it. Students were also given awareness of the importance of self-image and educated on the importance of “thinking before posting”. In order to emphasise the same, many activities were done by the students like – taking a quiz on cyber safety, creating documents and presentations on the importance of cyber safety and how to prevent cyber bullying and steps to handle it. Students also created surveys using Google forms on the topic ‘Online safety’.
Students use the internet more and more whether it is at home, for e-learning, for doing research and projects, on their mobile phones or on a games console. With this in mind, internet safety and knowing how to protect them online is essential. The internet is a safe, fun and informative place at the same time caution is needed because the internet can also be dangerous. By getting into the habit of following good internet safety practices, students can protect their information and identity for years to come.
Parents play a critical role in ensuring their children have a safe and positive experience online but in order to do this, parents must be aware of how children and young people use the internet. Children today are connected in a multitude of different ways, but the foundation of their online experience typically begins with the technology they have at home. We encourage parents to establish rules, monitor use and discuss safety practices with their children as the best way to help them become safe and self-aware media users.
GIIS Dubai believes that school and parents are partners in paving the path for the child’s future. As a result “Cyber safety Awareness Pointers for Parents and Students” was shared with the students and parents, this covered the importance of cyber safety, internet safety tips for parents and students, cyberbullying – prevention and tips to handle the same. The official link for cyber safety and digital security of UAE was also shared. The details of the contact points for help and guidance from school were also shared through mail and also posted on Google classroom.
It is important to recognize that the online classroom is in fact a classroom, and certain behaviour is expected when students communicate with both peers and the teachers. These guidelines for online behaviour and interaction are known as “netiquette”. Good netiquette involves respect for the privacy of others, avoid doing anything online that will disturb or frustrate other people, maintaining discipline and respect during online classes.
In GIIS Dubai, we use zoom for e-learning classes and google classroom as the e learning and content sharing platform. The orientation workshops for using these platforms were given to the parents and students as a part of implementation of online learning in the school. The teachers upload the contents, activities and resource links using google classroom and the students also can upload their work. The online classes include normal classes for the students, and the same is used for online competitions, workshops and for after school activities, assessments etc. Students also use these platforms for self and peer assessments. It is very important for the students to be responsible digital citizens and to respect and follow the class rules. The Student Netiquette for all the grades were shared through mail and also using Google classrooms and are uniformly followed by all the students in the school and is also ensured by the teachers before the class for effectiveness. With all these measures, we in GIIS Dubai follow a safe and secure cyber network , teaching and learning environment for the students and teachers.