In recent years, there has been a lot of debate on what children should be taught in schools. A couple of years back, United Kingdom introduced a new program – Cybersecurity – in school curricula, trying to make up for the lack of education and information in that area.
Social media networks are an aspect of modern day-to-day lives that cannot be ignored. Should calligraphy be taught in schools, now that most students can type on their mobile phones faster than they can write by hand? Children must be taught skills that they will need for interactions in the world within which they function, which means we have to inform them how cyberspace works and how it can affect their present and future.
1) Online reputation
Since students mostly go through their lives simultaneously in the real world and online, we can notice some disadvantages of oversharing on social networks, while users themselves have very little control over their online 'image'. If someone says something negative about some person online, in perspective, that can have horrible consequences for the person's future. At the same time, that same platform helps individuals to present themselves as the best versions of themselves. Children should, therefore, be aware that everything they post online, good or bad, is public and easy to access.
Students are mostly in a phase where the influence of peers is completely stronger than the influence of parents, or they are at the beginning of that process. Given that those groups experiment in all kinds of ways trying to prove that they are 'grown-up', their interaction on social networks shows a number of inappropriate behaviors.
It is, therefore, crucial to teach them how to take care of their security settings and the real implications of, for example, frequent check-ins and tags, as well as how to keep their online 'image' appropriate, according to some criteria, standards, or norms.
Cyber-bullying is any type of communication activity on the Internet (the use of emails, websites, blogs, videos) with the intention to humiliate, tease, threaten, or in any other way terrorize a child.
Here are some things to teach children in order to prevent cyber-bullying:
· Teach them more about phones, devices, Internet, and some basic terms that are used in cyberspace
· Set some ground rules on using the computer and the Internet and meeting Internet friends
· Try to understand the ways in which children use the Internet and mobile phones, and for which activities
· Teach them not to forward or comment on any kind of content that can hurt someone
· Ensure a feeling of trust and safety
· For parents, inform yourselves on programs that can filter websites you don't want your children to access
4) Communication with strangers
Exactly like in the real world, interaction with strangers is one of the most important lessons for the safety of children. Due to their naivety and innocence, they can often trust strangers far more that they should.
Also, due to their frequent use of chat rooms, children are also prone to have a lot of virtual encounters with strangers. This applies to online clubs, associations, and games too. This is why it's important to state the importance of caution in interactions with strangers in the virtual world as well.
Children can very easily be victims of online scams, phishing, data theft, etc. Parents should pay special attention to introducing children to the most common types of scams and teaching them not to believe everything they see on the Web.