Powai school students devise curriculum to stay safe on netFebruary 13, 2019, Mumbai
Bombay Scottish School, Powai started their fight for digital safety with street plays in the neighbourhood on Republic Day.Bombay Scottish School, Powai started their fight for digital safety with street plays in the neighbourhood on Republic Day.
MUMBAI: A friendly chat on social media and some browsing on the Internet are things all teenagers do these days. But, this puts them at the risk of evils such as cyber-bullying, cheating and fake news, leaving negative digital footprints. To tackle the problem, a group of students from Bombay Scottish School, Powai, with help from experts, has devised a yearlong curriculum to help peers stay safe on the World Wide Web.
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Taking note of the growing use of the Internet by students and threats it posed, the school organized workshops with experts to help parents and students understand the problem over the past year. “The workshops helped us speak to parents about what to look out for and how to keep students safe, but there was a need to go beyond that. We cannot ignore the Internet and its usage. So we were toying with the idea of integrating it into the curriculum. We spoke to class VIII and IX students about problems they feel the Internet brings to the table, and were surprised about how aware they were about them,” she said.
The school roped in digital safety expert Sayantan Sen to hand-hold students through curriculum development. “The students have brainstormed and discussed various levels of digital engagement peers indulge in. For instance, class VI students are starting to get their own digital device, while class VIII students are creating digital footprints on Instagram. The horrors at each stage are different,” said Sunita George.
Class VIII and IX students will be paired up to hold sessions for class VI onwards. In class VI, issues addressed will be parental control, screen-time and online safety relating to use of email accounts. For class VII, students will be taught about click-bait, fake news and sponsored content. “Once students start browsing, there is a sea of content they look at. It is important to help them understand what is accurate,” said Sen, who has been outlining the curriculum for students. In classes VIII and IX, students will touch on issues of digital footprints, dealing with body image and inappropriate content, and introducing parents to the online world of children.
The school earmarked few periods each week on the timetable for this academic year and will continue to do so in the next. The students started their fight for digital safety with street plays in the neighbourhood on Republic Day. “We wanted to build students who will become advocates of the cause. Each year, a batch of students will be trained to teach the curriculum, making digital safety ingrained into everyday learning,” said George.
School: Bombay Scottish School