Shepherd Chimururi Cool Lifestyle Correspondent
Stematisation of our education system has given a great motivation for students to learn online yet very little has been put in place for student cyber safety. E-learning yes, but what about the child’s student safety? The internet is among the most dangerous and potentially harmful places for students as they are exposed to things that do not only shear their mentality but may totally distract learning and even develop into addictive tendencies.
Internet sites need to be evaluated for student intellectual appropriateness and safety. There are several concerns about online materials ranging from age inappropriate content to real cyber-criminals. It is painful to note that most students, parents, teachers are not as much conscious about online safety.
While our law does not allow possession or distribution of adult content like pornography, students are still exposed to the same material in the streets. This is the same situation online. General internet access does not bar students from accessing adult content. Almost all browsers currently in use allow content filtering; teachers and parents are advised to use this feature.
Here are a few tips for students’ safety. Do not give out your name, address, password, bank account number, your phone number or your parents’ contacts, names or workplaces, names of places where you go to school or where you hang out.
There has been a rise recently of online criminals that use persuasive language to lure young people. Scams and Spams have become the order of the day. Often one may receive a notification that they have won money or that they have been awarded a scholarship in a foreign nation among other fake things. You need to be informed and warned on these scams. Several students have been lured into going abroad only to end up kidnapped and often times abused.
Do not buy or order anything online from a stranger without approval from your guardians. Lastly do not accept offers that seem to be too good to be true. Be wary of scams that require you to first send money to the stranger. Inform your parents or teachers about these cyber con tricks.
Be careful who you trust online. Making new friends can be fun, but there is a chance that they may not be who they say they are. If someone is nasty, offensive or makes you comfortable in a chat room, do not respond just leave straight away.
Studies in psychology reveal that students’ behaviours are highly correlative to what they are exposed to. Most importantly, the kind of information, software, content and games that they watch online affects their behaviour. Behaviours like aggressiveness, impatience, offensive language, and explosive reactions are quite common on the internet. It is vital that parents and schools may control such content that a student accesses online.
Lastly think before you post information online because once you post it will be difficult to remove it. Always keep your password secret.
Protecting young people online is a global challenge, which requires a global approach. While many efforts to improve online protection are already under way more still needs to be done. Now is time for action to be taken at national and global level to protect the students online. This level of security is among the top priorities if e-learning is to remain a blessing to the nation.