3 Reasons Why Kells Middle School Promotes Online Cybersafety

With all of our students enjoying access to laptops and iPads, Kells Academy has long recognized the importance of integrating the latest technology into the learning experience. When used appropriately, technology is a powerful tool that can open students up to new ideas, make learning more engaging, and help them organize and review materials. At the same time, we recognize that as educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students how to use technology safely, particularly when it comes to online cybersafety.

Cybersafety is taken very seriously by both students and staff members at Kells. Here are three reasons why we promote online cybersecurity, and the ways we help our students stay safe in an increasingly digital world.

1. The Internet Is Essential for the Future Success of Our Students

Technological skills, including staying safe online, are essential in today’s modern world. The Digital Economy has become so prevalent that it is now impossible to separate it from the traditional economy. One study, for example, found that in 2016 about 71% of jobs required medium to high digital skills, up from 45% just 14 years earlier. That figure is expected to grow, with almost every industry affected by increasing digitalization.

One of our responsibilities as educators is to ensure that students are prepared for the Digital Economy, including through providing them with enhanced cybersafety skills. That’s why our students don’t just learn technology skills in isolation; rather, we incorporate technology throughout our classes so that students learn how to apply technological skills to a wide breadth of contexts. This approach allows students to understand the value of digital skills in a range of disciplines. It also means our students have a greater appreciation of how cybersafety is not exclusively a digital issue, but rather one that permeates almost every aspect of their lives.

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Kells’ middle school students become familiar with safe technology use throughout our programs

2. Cybersafety Skills Should Be Instilled in Middle School Students Early On

The earlier our students understand the importance of cybersafety, the better prepared they are to protect themselves online. Not only does using technology throughout our programs instill a greater sense of familiarity with digital skills, but we go one step further and ensure our students learn how to take responsibility for their online security. Kells students have their own email and student portal accounts, which they are expected to check regularly for important school updates. As part of our Electronic Device Regulations, students at our private middle school are prohibited from sharing their passwords with others, and they are encouraged to assume responsibility over their online accounts.

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Students learn about cybersafety by taking responsibility of their own email and portal accounts

If a student is found to be using their devices or the internet inappropriately, then disciplinary measures—including loss of internet access—may be instituted. By ensuring our students are familiar with technology and are encouraged to use it responsibly, they are better prepared to enter the broader world with an increased sense of independence and a greater ability to protect their own cybersafety.

3. Cyberbullying Is a Growing Issue That We Take Seriously

Another reason why our middle school takes cybersafety seriously is that we recognize the growing issue of cyberbullying and the need to do whatever we can to keep students safe from it. According to one recent study, 1 in 3 kids in Canada report that they have been cyberbullied. Our policies are designed to combat this problem by helping students develop into independent, respectful, and responsible individuals.

For example, Kells encourages students to see themselves as digital citizens who understand that whatever they post online should be considered permanent. For that reason, we have a policy encouraging students to respect each others’ privacy, including only posting pictures and recordings of students and staff members if they have their expressed consent to do so. Such policies foster a welcoming and positive environment, which, for our students, extend to both the online and offline worlds.

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