education, technology, and everything else

Teaching Cyber Safety

Posted by Miranda on February 18, 2007

I was reading an article about a new course that will be offered in Scotland that will give students a certificate in online safety. I think that’s a really good idea. I fact I might go on to say that maybe it should be a requirement. At the end of the article two students are quoted.

Liam Hannan, 16, from Blairgowrie, said: “If you put it in schools no-one will take it. The guys who are net savvy won’t need it.”

and Scottish Youth Parliament treasurer John Loughton, 19, said: “Young people, not just adults, should have been involved in developing the course.”

Both of those things are quite true. But I think there is a perception among the young that they know more than they do. (Big surprise) I am thinking here of one case where a student at the school where I work was disciplined for I think alcohol consumption, I can’t quite remember. At any rate the case against him was pretty clear as he had posted pictures of himself in his dorm room consuming on his Facebook or MySpace site. The response by other students was to start a group called Students Against Administrators Looking At Our Private Pictures. I mean it really was to laugh. Private? On the Net? The students who started that group were among the most “net-savvy” in the school too.

I do think that John Loughton is correct in saying that students should be consulted in the design of any course like that. And I think that Liam Hannan has it partly right. The students who think they are net-savvy won’t take it, but they do need it because they aren’t nearly as savvy as they think they are.

But that, of course, is just a human condition.


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