The kind of problems the youth had back then were different and much less as compared to the problems the youth undergo in the present day. Much of the present-day problems birth from internet and the activity that happens over it. In such times, maintaining online safety has become a necessity.
Today out of all the teens who are on social media, have at one point or the other experienced cyberbullying. Out of them, very few report this to their parents or teachers. Cyberbullying implies the act of harassing and bullying someone through the use of technology and phone. It has a long-lasting negative effect on the minds of the teens that gives rise to serious mental health issues.
Reflecting on this rising concern, many schools in Mumbai have begun taking steps to enforce online safety for their students. We approached one such school in Mumbai who has started working towards creating a safe online space for its students. Bombay Scottish, Mahim launched a campaign named ‘Digital Safety 4 Youth’ to “fight against the perils of cyberbullying,” says the school’s principal, Sunita Gorege. The principal says that as this issue is plaguing every school going student/teen, they decided to not just keep the initiative restricted to their school but also extend it to other willing schools in Mumbai.
As their first step against cyberbullying, Sunita George along with a group of students, framed a curriculum to help students stay safe online. This curriculum is in the form of a digital kit which includes presentations, tips and guidelines, videos and other reading material that sheds light on the various threats the digital world is capable of throwing at us and how must one deal with it. Bombay Scottish School has till now, been successful in getting 21 schools in Mumbai on board, trained 10 students and 1 teacher from each of these schools to further educate other students about online safety.
The initiative was launched about 7-8 months back. Digital Safety 4 Youth was launched with the motive of teaching students to think critically and act responsibly on the internet. It aims to make students capable of handling digital challenges to thrive in the digital era.
As a part of this initiative, the school has decided to pick up an aspect that falls under cyberbullying each year, as its theme and work towards it. Their this year’s theme was ‘identifying fake news’. Since every phone today has internet connectivity, all have become content generators, however, the authenticity of such content cannot be trusted. There are many things that we come across daily but not all are true. Busting such fake content is a necessity. The students of Bombay Scottish realised this and thus began identifying fake news thus revealing the actuality behind it.
Just like the schools, we too must actively look for a solution to ensure online safety at individual levels. As technology has become an inevitable part of our lives, staying away from it or curbing its use is just not possible. That is not a sensible solution. It is upto us how we conduct ourselves online and consume the content offered to us.