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.
MOE uses the CW framework to develop the child’s instinct to protect and empower him to take responsibility for his own well-being in cyberspace. The three principles, ‘Respect for Self and Others’, ‘Safe and Responsible Use’ and ‘Positive Peer Influence’ when adhered to will anchor a child’s well-being in cyberspace as he will then be able to make careful and well-considered decisions.
(1) Respect for Self and Others
Students need to:
- uphold their own dignity when online (e.g. share appropriate content and participate in only legal online activities)
- respect other people online (e.g. put themselves in others’ shoes, accept diverse views and opinions, give credit when using other people’s work and seek permission where necessary, avoid sharing hurtful materials).
(2) Safe and Responsible Use
Students need to:
- have an understanding of the risks of harmful and illegal online behaviours, and take steps to protect themselves (e.g. keep their personal information private, verify the reliability of information using various sources, take steps to avoid dangers they may encounter online).
- make wise and healthy choices (e.g. maintain a healthy balance of their online and offline activities)
(3) Positive Peer Influence
Students need to:
- be a positive role model online (e.g. share healthy and positive content, harness the affordances of technology to do good for society)
- advocate positive online behaviour (e.g. stand up for their peers online, report cases of cyber bullying to a trusted adult/authority, post encouraging remarks on social media)
Schools are guided by the CW framework to plan and implement holistic CW Education which is customised to the student profile and school environment.
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:
- Embrace ICT yet maintain a balanced lifestyle between the physical and the cyber world
- Harness the power of ICT for positive purposes
- Maintain a positive presence in cyberspace
- 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:
- Self Management covers impulse control and stress management to address issues such as addiction and cyberbullying
- Social Awareness covers perspective-taking and empathy, such as the need to be culturally-aware and sensitive when posting opinions online.
- Responsible Decision-Making helps students put these competencies into action as they use the ICT.
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.
- Student Development Curriculum Division, MOE, 2012. 2014 Cyber Wellness Syllabus (Secondary).