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Students want more information on Internet at school

cyberbullying [1]


By Kate Shumakova [2]

BELLEVILLE – Kids in elementary and high school want their teachers to tell them more about online behaviour and opportunities, a digital literacy expert says.

“Children want to be able to turn to teachers for information about all sorts of thing online. Some of them, for example, are asking how to authenticate online – how to tell if something on a website is true or not – or how to protect your privacy online,” Thierry Plante, an education specialist at the Canadian organization MediaSmarts, told QNet News Thursday.

MediaSmarts [3], an Ottawa-based centre for digital and media literacy, has just released a report [4] on how children in Grades 4 to 11 are using the Internet, what dangers and risks they are encountering, and how adults can help them meet these challenges.

The MediaSmarts research shows that students are interested in teachers’ mentorship and want to be able to talk to them about the Internet, Plante said.

“Often children hesitate to go and talk to a teacher, for example about mean and cruel behaviour online. It’s a fear that the situation gets out of control, because teachers are basically bound by that zero-tolerance policy,” Plante said.

The MediaSmarts report includes a list of the 50 websites that were most popular among Canadian children in Grades 4 to 11 in 2005 and in 2013. In 2005, children visited mostly educational and entertainment sites, while in 2013 the Top 10 were mostly social networks such as Facebook [5], YouTube [6] and Instagram [7].

According to the report, online conflicts arise as children hit the teen years, when their use of social networks increases.