How many individuals do you know that do not utilize the Internet in any form or fashion? I would say that you would be hard-pressed to name even one. The Internet has taken over our society. Although it has its pros, there are also cons. We’ve seen an increase in cyberbullying as well as the broadcast of material previously thought to be private. How do we prepare our students to utilize the Internet effectively and safely? One way is to acknowledge Safer Internet Day that is celebrated on February 7 this year. This day of recognition began in Europe over a year ago. It was designed to promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet and other digital technology to children and young adults. Safer Internet Day was officially recognized in the United States in 2012, but became a highlighted day of recognition beginning in 2013. This year’s theme is “Uniting for a Better Internet.” The idea is to recognize and feature good deeds and leadership of children and young adults. Some ways that you can get your students involved:
- Follow the official Twitter account (@saferinternetday) for all the latest news and updates
- Check out the official webpage at www.saferinternetday.com A particular area of internest is the resources tab located at the top of the homepage. Under resources, you will find articles, videos, and links to other related webpages
- Browse through videos located on UK Safer Internet Centre’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/UKSIC
- Discuss with students about the effects of digital history. Both colleges and employers are researching prospective members through social media. How may your social media image affect your opportunities? You may be able to locate real-life examples that detail how a teen’s social media presence affected his/her college choice.
- Create a lesson based upon cyberbullying. I deal with this issue multiple times a year in my classroom One particular instance comes to mind where a female student spent of the morning crying before confessing that she had been a victim of cyberbullying. We were able to view the messages and they were the most vile sentences I have ever read. Most students are unaware of what steps to take when they are the recipient of cyberbullying. Explain that they can take action themselves using the block feature, or reporting the individuals to the host. In some cases, police action can be utilized. You also want to point out to potential bullies that they are not anonymous and their actions have consequences.
Have you ever had to deal with cyberbullying in your classroom? How did you handle it?