Is the Internet a Safe Place for Children?
“Is the internet a safe place? I think about it very often,” says Tek Bahadur Bohara, International School Award (ISA) Coordinator from Bluebird Secondary School, Lalitpur.
The Bluebird Secondary School faculty members, including Tek and Ankit (a computer teacher), are very concerned about internet safety for the students. “Students today are excessively engaged in online activities and social media. It has become a wide source of both, knowledge and entertainment. It is very important they make the proper use of the internet, and that’s why we have started to teach about Internet safety and cybersecurity in our school,” says the ISA coordinator.
As reported by Nepal police, 90 per cent cybercrimes are found to have taken place through Facebook, where most of the cybercrimes are related with social media exposing young students at risk of cyberbullying and crime in Nepal.
What was done?
To draw the attention of students towards Internet safety and cyberbullying and crimes, the School Management Team started a project as part of ISA. They named the project - 'No More Cyber Bullying: Make Safety Plan.’
Throughout the project period, the school conducted different classes for students of grade seven and eight to develop their understanding of the risks that come with internet access. They conducted a day-long workshop in collaboration with ChildSafeNet, a non-governmental organization working to make digital technology safer for children and young people. The workshop informed students about cyberbullying, use of inappropriate contents and its consequences and safety practice to stay away from the possible cybercrimes. Besides orientation and workshop, the students created stories and roleplayed the stories, for better understanding of the content.
Learning and Outcomes
“The workshop and activities conducted in school were really helpful. I knew nothing about the cyberbullying before, but now I am aware of it and know about the Dos and Don’ts in the internet or social media,” says one of the seventh-grade students.
After a couple of activities, some students even shared their stories about being bullied on social media with their teachers and classmates.
On the basis of their learnings from the workshop, the students are now drafting an anti-cyberbullying policy with support from the teachers and ChildSafeNet team. As soon as they complete the draft, the School Management Committee will review and revise the draft and integrate it into their school policy. By doing this, the school looks forward to not just creating awareness of cyberbullying among the young students, but also help them to understand the importance of staying safe on the internet.
The British Council’s International School Award (ISA) is a global accreditation scheme that supports and recognizes schools for incorporating an international dimension in their teaching. The accreditation process support schools to develop action plans and deliver lessons according to the plan. The programme encourages partnerships and collaboration between schools – both internationally and locally. The ISA is a part of the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme which is co-funded by the British Council and UKAid. This global programme is currently being implemented in 34 countries. Across Nepal, over 60 schools are currently involved in the 2018-19 cycle and over 300 schools will be working on the 2019-20 programme.