When it comes to using technology, and knowing how to navigate the online world, our Year 7 students are certainly digital natives. Over the last few weeks, Year 7 Pastoral Groups have explored what it means to be a ‘Digital Citizen’, and considered what their individual ‘Digital Footprints’ may look like. Students were asked to consider the way footprints are left behind when we walk both physically and digitally. In a practical sense, footprints in sand are washed away over time, the marks left behind in online posts or comments are quite different. Whilst there are time something may be removed, students were reminded of and also highlighted the idea of digital footprints always existing- even if deleted. They may have been shared, or captured in a screen shot. So conversations were had about ways to pause and consider the impact of anything that is then posted online. One such easy step is to pause and think…is this post positive and does it collaborate, is it creative or am I communicating?
The work done in class was then followed up by a performance by Class Act Theatre in Education entitled ‘Cyber Busters’. This performance tackled the key issues students face when interacting online, whilst also highlighting suitable strategies for students to use, should they ever experience something similar. Students have been reminded in class and through the show, that seeking support from a trusted adult when impacted by things online is a great first step. This adult, might be a parent or guardian, teacher, Counsellor or even a member of the police if necessary. But in addition to identifying ways to seek support for themselves, the performance also highlighted the need as individuals to recognise if any of our interactions online have impacted someone else, even if that was not intentional. The performance was finished off with a Q&A session, and a student trivia challenge when 8 students worked in teams (supported by their peers in the audience) to answer questions related to what they’d seen in the show and strategies to help keep themselves safe when engaging online.