Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 3 -- Online safety workshop for school students

Earlier today, we were at PSSB Millenium school, Gerugambakkam and ran a online safety workshop for school students.

About 750 students from 6th to 8th standard attended the half-hour first session. Almost all of the children raised their hands when asked if they used email and chat. When asked why the Internet was dangerous, children voiced reasons like security, malwares, and "it damages your brains." Children were asked what actions they should not be taking on the Internet. Children responded enthusiastically and responded with measures like "do not share your password", "do not click on pop-up messages", "delete mails we get from strangers". Dr. Swarna concluded the session with asking children to inform their parents about sites they visited and about their activities online.

The two-hour second session, conducted by Anupama, addressed about 400 students from the 9th and 10th standard. Only a small minority of the children indicated that they are not online. When asked about what words they associate with the word "Internet", they responded with names of major sites and words like homework, torrents, Fantasy premier league, games, torrents, downloading, booking railway tickets, downloading, maps.

Children were asked their opinions on some statements:
  • children were unanimous that internet is a fun place
  • About fifty percent of the children seemed to think Internet can be a scary place
  • When faced with the statement, "I know how to take care of myself online", a small number of children stood up. "I do things without thinking" and "I wouldn't know when somebody hacks my account" were what the students said.
Anupama also discussed "The secret life of Indian teens", the findings of a survey conducted by McAfee. Children agreed with some of the statistics while they disagreed with others.

Password security was discussed. About 30 percent of children admitted their first password is their current password. Some of the first passwords that children had used were cartoon network, Palani is a dinosaur, lighthouse, cows race.

Children were asked to a write on a sheet of paper what they considered public, private and semi-public/private. Children suggested name, age, birthday, email, talents, school, hometown, likes & dislikes, the car the parents bought, punch dialogues (from movies), role models can be public. Children suggested exam results, password, bank balance, feelings and emotions, name of girlfriend/boyfriend, chat/download/search history, weight, what you eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner, autographs, signatures can be considered private. Quite a large group of children admitted that their friends knew their password. Safety settings and photos were discussed. Some children felt that phone numbers were public information.

Children were asked to search for themselves in search engines and discover what turns up. The session concluded with a few children who came up and suggested a safety tip.

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