The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday launched anti-cyberbullying lesson plans for Grades 5 to 6 and Junior High School students.
Developed in partnership with child-care nonprofit Stairway Foundation Inc. (SFI) since April 2015, the modules are part of the CyberSafe project, an initiative aiming to protect Filipino children from cyberbullying and online child abuse.
DepEd & Stairway Foundation Inc. reveal the logo of online child protection and anti-cyberbullying project CyberSafe pic.twitter.com/J8VIfB4Atx— Rie Takumi (@rie_takumi) March 30, 2016
CyberSafe was conceived after a 2012 survey by SFI revealed that while 9 out of 10 children used the Internet, only half were taught of the dangers they might face online — a statistic repeated in their 2015 survey.
The program expanded from formulating an online safety curriculum to creating modules, which Education Secretary Armin A. Luístro said would help teachers understand the need to educate their pupils on proper online protocols despite not being as technologically-apt as their students.
"Teachers may feel threatened and they don't want to understand [what] the possibilities and risks are and they actually... leave that section of learning and growth," Luístro said.
"Our own educators would have to make sure that we know the landscape online and what students are learning, what they're engaging outside that period where they are [out of the classroom]," he added.
SFI executive director Lars Jorgensen said parents also play a crucial role in the program as they could be their children's' confidants if students feel uncomfortable with confiding negative experiences with their teachers.
"The close relationship between a parent and a child is so important because the child, they will, on the Internet, they're very likely to come into a situation where they don't know how to handle it and they will need a trusted adult to talk to them," he said.
Lessons in the modules are taught through audio-visual activities with guiding questions and learning points.
Among the topics covered by the online safety lesson plans for Grade 5 to 6 students are account privacy, cyberbullying, online gaming privacy, image and content sharing, online friends and pornography, selfies, and texting.
Lessons for Junior High students will also cover account privacy, cyberbullying, image and content sharing, and selfies.
In addition to this, Junior High students will be taught how to safely handle instant messaging, online friends, gambling, gaming, relationships; sexting; and text clans.
Teachers are also advised on how they may handle disclosures made by children, as well as reminded that they are legally mandated to report the incidents to their school's child protection committee.
Luístro stressed that in teaching these modules, teachers must remember the risks and rewards in allowing students engage with one another on the Internet.
"We cannot prevent and should not prevent the use of technology just because there are risks. But it is our duty to ensure that those risks are identified, that we know and anticipate how [to prevent] those risks," he said.
SecLuistro: We can't/shouldn't prevent use of tech bec. there are risks BUT it's our duty to identify those risks pic.twitter.com/Uh9bXIpu0V— Rie Takumi (@rie_takumi) March 30, 2016
Each module may be downloaded through the DepEd website and through the CyberSafe website for free.
All modules will be updated periodically to cover new topics and eventually other grade levels.
Copies of the modules will be printed by April with messages from each organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), a proponent of the project under the #WeProtectInitiative. —KBK, GMA News