STUDENTS at St Nessan’s Community College in Moylish are wising up to safe web browsing after an eventful and educational Internet Safety Day at the school.
Internet Safety Day, an EU-wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, particularly young people, took place on Tuesday February 11 and St Nessan’s is throwing its full weight behind safe Internet use. Bernie O’Driscoll, IT teacher at the school, outlined some of the activities in which the school was involved as part of the initiative.
“We had an internet safety poster campaign for all first, second and third years and we launched a peer-led safety campaign where Transition Year students blog about internet safety and teach other students to be safe online.
“We brought in a guest speaker, Gary Lowe from Whizz Kids Discover IT company in Castletroy, and he spoke to the second year students.
“He was very approachable and spoke about the topic in a fun way. His presentation was very interesting and he took all questions from the students.
“He highlighted the positive aspects of social media as well as pointing out how few people don’t know about safety settings on facebook.
Bernie told of how, in a gathering of 14-year-olds, every person raised their hand when asked if they used facebook, and also that most of the students had in excess of 200 ‘friends’ on the social networking website.
She added: “When Gary was talking about the safety features and how easily friends of friends can view your photos and personal information, there was a moment of realisation in the room.
“He also outlined a few simple scenarios of how phishing can occur. For example, a person interested in gaming could be offered gaming tips in exchange for their personal details.”
Bernie explained that the teaching of Internet safety to students at St Nessan’s has become a significant part of the school’s curriculum, with staff and pupils heavily involved in the subject.
“Schools are entitled to allocate teaching time to IT and we have a double class of computers every week in St Nessan’s. The school has already taken the initiative of formalising the student’s IT education by offering the above courses which will be coming onstream with the introduction of the new Junior Cert Curriculum, with short courses such as Digitial Media and Programming to be introduced.”
“To further promote the safer Internet message, students will be entering Digital Movies in the Watch Your Space schools competition and launching a peer-led Internet campaign to highlight the message throughout the community as much as possible over the next few months.”