Understanding Cyber Wellness
Our students today belong to a linkster1 generation who are constantly connected. The open nature of the internet poses a danger to our students as it can expose them to undesirable content which may corrupt their value systems, and to unnecessary hurts. Cyber Wellness is important as it looks into the positive well-being of students as they navigate the cyberspace.
Cyberwellness refers to the positive well-being of the Internet users. It involves an understanding of the risks of harmful online behaviours, an awareness of how to protect oneself and other Internet users from such behaviours.
The Cyber Wellness Framework guides schools in the planning and implementation of a Cyber Wellness programme. The Framework focuses on developing the child’s instinct to protect himself and empower him to take responsibility for his own well-being in cyberspace. It highlights two principles to guide pupils in their actions, describes a 3-step process to explore cyber wellness issues and encourages schools to partner parents in promoting cyber wellness among pupils.
1. Respect for Self and Others
Students should be able to:
a. Uphold their own dignity when online (e.g. avoid surfing inappropriate sites and participating in illegal online activities).
b. Respect others (e.g. avoid using the work of others without permission and publishing undesirable materials that hurt others).
2. Safe and Responsible Use
Students should be able to:
a. Understand the risks of harmful and illegal online behaviours, and learn how to protect themselves as well as to avoid dangers they may encounter online.
b. Evaluate the consequences of their decisions/ behaviours while online and make responsible choices to protect themselves and the community (e.g. not spending excessive amount of time chatting or playing games online, and reporting victims of cyber bullying to a trusted adult/authority).
Students should always “be aware” of issues, “think” before “acting” while they are online. “Sense, Think and Act” is a simple learning cycle for pupils to adopt.
Sense. Students should be able to “sense” the risks of harmful behaviours online and learn how to manage such risks as well as protect themselves from the dangers.
Think. To develop students’ ability to respond to new encounters in cyberspace, it is important to provide opportunities for students to analyse, evaluate and reflect on cyber wellness issues.
Act. Students should eventually translate their understanding into actions that will keep them safe while online.
Goals and Key Messages for Cyber Wellness
Goals of Cyber Wellness
The goal of the Cyber Wellness curriculum is to equip students with life-long social-emotional competencies and sound values so that they can become safe, respectful and responsible users of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The key messages to students are to:
1. Embrace ICT yet maintain a balanced lifestyle between the physical and the cyber world
2. Harness the power of ICT for positive purposes
3. Maintain a positive presence in cyberspace
4. Be a safe and responsible user of ICT
Cyber Wellness and Social and Emotional Competencies
Table 1 outlines the respective social and emotional competencies that will be emphasised for each theme and topic.
Three domains cut across almost all the topics:
1. Self Management
2. Social Awareness
3. Responsible Decision-Making
1 The linkster generation, also known as The Facebook Generation, are members of the population who were born after 1995, according to Johnson & Johnson (2010). They are so called Linkster Generation because no other generation has ever been so linked to each other and to the world through technology.
2 The core values (Respect; Responsibility; Resilience; Integrity; Care and Harmony) are fundamental for a person of good character and a useful citizen of Singapore. They guide students to discern between right and wrong, help them to make responsible choices and become more aware of their roles in society. These are also the values which underpin the CCE Curriculum.
1. Student Development Curriculum Division, MOE, 2012. 2014 Cyber Wellness Syllabus (Secondary).