One of the measures that rocked people’s lives to the core is the shift to online teaching. Children, their parents, and teachers all have to work together to make the best out of this demanding situation. Aside from maintaining kids’ desire to learn and establishing discipline outside of school walls, the question of safety during online learning also surfaced.
The use of an online teaching platform certainly has its perks, but it also has its downsides. Personal and academic information is now being shared online. With increased online activity, we have to put more thought into how to ensure digital safety.
Learning how to behave in the imposed (and yet inevitable) digital learning environment can keep students and teachers safe. For that reason, consider the following practices that will help with establishing habits that support digital safety.
Explain to Children What Online Safety Means
Considering that children will be spending a notable time of their day online, they should be aware of what they should and shouldn’t share on the internet. Expecting that parents keep an eye on their children every single moment of the day is an impossible request. That’s why it’s imperative that children understand the boundaries that will keep them safe online.
According to a survey concerning internet safety for children, stakeholders found that the right age for children to learn about online safety is at 7 years old. Consequently, it’s never too early to educate children about the threats of the digital world.
The participants of the previously mentioned survey were parents, teachers, and youth. All three groups expressed that parents have the primary responsibility when it comes to teaching online safety. Of course, teachers can join in on the mission of introducing online safety. However, parents are most likely to get through to children.
Cover the basic areas of online safety to make it understandable to children of all ages. These basics comprise of the importance of not sharing personal information (name, address, phone number, school, etc.), why they shouldn’t share all information, and similar. Keep the children updated about new tools and pages that are safe to use as well as those that they shouldn’t access.
Reiterate the Importance of Password Safety
Both students and teachers should recognize how crucial it is to protect their passwords. Whether it is a password to the digital classroom, virtual meeting, or social media account, it shouldn’t be shared by any means.
If anyone gains access to students’ passwords, their coursework and potentially personal information will be exposed and vulnerable. Both students and teachers who don’t have much practice with the online community should know that unwanted emails, ads, or sketchy pages that demand their password must be avoided.
Children especially need to grasp that they shouldn’t give out the passwords to their friends. Moreover, they should never share these passwords online. The only person besides them who can have access to their passwords is the parent.
Sally Emerson, a psychologist and contributor writer at TrustMyPaper writing service, shared that youth often has the inexplicable desire to share everything with their closest friends. “Children’s need to retain a bond with their peers at any cost can sometimes harm them. With online learning in full swing, it’s not uncommon that they share passwords among them. Parents and teachers, therefore, have to take on the responsibility to explain that sharing passwords can endanger their privacy and schoolwork,” said Sally.
Balance Out the Use of Internet
Students need to understand that their lives don’t revolve around the internet. Since they are learning online and using social media for socializing, the balance between the use of the internet and other activities can be off.
Teachers’ contribution to restoring the balance can be to assign tasks that don’t demand the internet. For example, they can encourage children to use flashcards. Flashcards are perfect for organizing a fun revision of previous lessons. Students can print them out and step outside of the internet world when revising lessons.
Another option is to motivate students to mix learning from the laptop with different forms of learning. Teachers can assign additional material or activities that can take place outside. If some children struggle with learning online, they can use essay writing services such as Supreme Dissertations to summarize their digital learning material, which they can then print out.
On the other hand, parents should also boost children’s desire to engage in activities that don’t demand the internet. They can play charades, run around in the backyard, help the parents with cooking, etc. Both parents and teachers must realize that it’s easy for children to get sucked in the digital work. They’ll need the encouragement of adults to set that balance between the digital world and the real world.
Beware of Cyber Bullying
Cyberbullying is a growing problem in today’s society. The devastating truth is that 81% of children think that it is easier to get away with cyberbullying. Now, when they are tied to their laptops daily, the online community will be even more tempting for bullies.
Bullying can have a damaging effect on both children’s mental and physical health. Social anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are among the most common effects of cyberbullying. Bullied students are also twice as likely to experience problems such as headache or stomachache. All of these changes in physical and mental behavior can be signals for parents and teachers. Also, if you notice that children feel uneasy when they have to go online or they protest against learning online all of a sudden, don’t take this for granted.
Teachers can detect the change of behavior through students’ work as well. If a student drastically changes the way they write, draw, or express themselves, or seem depressed or anxious, the teacher should contact the parent.
Building a Path towards Digital Resilience
Students, teachers, and parents all have to prepare for the threats of the online community. Showing support for digital safety concerns and surfacing credible information about the websites and tools that are safe to use should become the norm.
Creating safe habits and keeping in mind different methods of staying safe online is what will help with building digital resilience. Use all resources to establish the best personal practice for staying safe during online learning and teaching.
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