The Need for Cyber Wellness Program
A cyber wellness program is meant to inform stakeholders of the risks associated with the use of smartphone/mobile gadgets, internet and social media, and equip them with a framework to effectively
- set-up a policy against abuses and guidelines on how to use said tools for value adding purposes (school admin)
- set up procedure on how to handle bullying and cyber abuses, and how to help victims. (school admin)
- develop a curriculum or training program for students, teaching and non teaching staff; and learning session for parents. (school admin)
- use practical approaches to set-up house rules pertaining to internet and gadget use, and engage kids about gaming and social media (parents/guardians)
- avoid online behaviours that will expose users to risks, observe online ethics and practice online safety behaviours (enduser/students)
Why Institutionalise A Cyber Wellness Program?
Firstly, the anti bullying act of 2013 requires primary and secondary schools to have a bullying seminar for students, parents and teachers.
Offline bullying, compared to cyberbullying is easier to address because the perpetuator can be identified.
Bullying is an offshoot of social engineering, a cyber risk, because a bully can incite his/her classmates and other bystanders to join him/her in harassing the victim, without them realising that they are being used.
And because cyberbullying have different forms and perpetuator can misrepresent his/her identity, its effects is far reaching and more challenging to address. Therefore, dealing with the problem before it happens is way better than after the fact reaction.
Secondly, knowledge about cyber wellness is a growing need among parents. By knowing the what to’s and how to’s when cyber abuse is experienced by a family member, this can greatly reduce stress of the parents involve
At a lost, I met parents and guardians seeking answers, options to take, and immediate help because
- a son was suspended bec. a “topless” picture of his female classmate was shown to him by a friend. The girl gave this pic via snap chat to her crush, but the crush shared the pic to his classmates. The girl thought the pic will self destruct but a screen shot was saved.
- Nude pics of a daughter was being circulated on the web. The girl was duped (social engineering) into doing this by an adult male who uses a handsome profile picture.
- Pics of a daughter is being associated to a nude picture and an FB account was set-up specifically to bully her.
- Hate pages are being set-up against a son to showcase his lapses in sports activities in school
- And many similar incidents
And Finally, GR 202666 (Supreme Court Jurisprudence). A resolution in a case wherein students were disbarred from marching on their graduation day because of an online behaviour that violated school policy, underscored the need for schools and parents to work closely in ensuring kids will be responsible users of social media and mobile apps.
It’s my belief that cyber wellness can reduce incidents of abuses because both parents and kids would know how to avoid the risks and report them. And the school would have program to deal with issues pertaining to cyber abuses.
Aside: Below are some of the sessions we have conducted