Cyberbullying, Cybersense and Nonsense
Two very interesting and informative sites on internet safety and awareness are “Cyber Bullying” and “Cyber Pigs” (the second adventure of the Cyber Pigs). I’ve explored both and even though these sites were designed with 9-12 year olds in mind, I found that the information and instruction included in these works should be viewed and offered to all ages, especially high school students who chat and use the internet often and are vulnerable to the dangers lurking on the internet.
Both sites deal with internet safety and awareness on the internet, however, “Cybersense and Nonsense: the second adventure of the Cyber Pigs”, is more interactive. In game format, it lends itself to a much more intriguing way to learn about a very serious topic. “Cyber bullying” on the other hand is structured as a slide show presentation. I found myself flipping through the slides quickly and not paying very much attention to the content as there were many slides and a lot of information to cover.
Games capture a student’s attention and therefore the student is more likely to absorb and retain the information presented. Who doesn’t like to play games? If students can learn to protect their personal privacy online and recognize certain internet marketing ploys through play, then the game format is probably one of the best educational resources a teacher or parent has.
I also believe that games of this type empower young people to make wise decisions on internet ethics and responsibility. In addition, interacting with the program, builds on their critical thinking and problem solving skills. The game not only points out the dangers of revealing personal information and chat room on line, it also addresses issues such as online hate, stereotyping, authenticity of online information and rules of proper internet use.
With so many young people using the internet today, texting each other, chatting online etc., it should be imperative that part of any subject taught in school should include at least one instalment on cyber safety.