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Educators join SA’s first Digital Life Skills Summit

Children face increasing online risks, but many schools haven't sufficiently integrated relevant safety skills in their curriculums.

Children face more risks and dangers online than ever before, yet they aren’t taught the relevant online safety skills in schools.

“Inappropriate adult content, a mental health crisis, distraction or focus issues, sleep disruption, exposure to the news such as war or local crimes, changing app settings and privacy concerns, cyberhacks, and gaming fraud – these are now regular challenges to face if you’re an adolescent online,” explains Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife.

To inform schools of this reality, the social media educators have announced a first for South Africa – The MySociaLife ‘Digital Life Skills Summit for Schools — equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to keep their students safer online, so they can explore and excel in a competitive decade.

Taking place tomorrow, Thursday, 16 February, the two-hour mini-summit will share five presentations on where students and schools currently find themselves, and how they can chart a new path towards ‘digital citizenship’. Insights will also stem from two GenZ speakers.

Educators will be provided with real insights on how not to get left behind which ultimately risks a school’s reputation. Teachers will learn how to shape a more aware digital culture that presents the spectrum of challenges that come with an explosive world of learning, messaging and communication, browsing, gaming and entertainment. “End result is the development of critical thinking online, greater online safety awareness and real digital empowerment for their students,” adds McCoubrey.

Kids are being exposed to more and more online, post-COVID. Recently, a video of a minor having sex with a female SA police officer was circulating on social media in South Africa. While the Film and Publication Board (FBP) has announced they’re trying to take the video down, it’s already entered schools through the phones of many South African children, exposing them to child pornography.

Yet, according to a survey conducted by Dell, 37% of Gen Z participants felt that school education did not equip them with the digital life skills needed in this day and age. “This is one of the biggest problems we faced on Safer Internet Day this year – very little exposure on these issues. In SA we are failing kids in online safety, and we’re failing them in educating them for the future,” McCoubrey adds.

MySociaLife is pioneering online safety and digital life skills education around South Africa, partnering with schools and presenting world-class, hyper-relevant programs to students in classes from Grade 4 to Grade 11.

“The great obstacle is getting kids to relate and buy-in. We recently launched a world-first social media current affairs show, called OneLife, that’s specifically designed to help teens successfully navigate the digital world they live in. What’s OneLife’s secret? An incredible GenZ team of six individuals under the age of 23 that creates and presents the content on screen,” concludes McCoubrey.

The Digital Life Skills Summit on February 16th is free for all Life Orientation teachers.  For more information, log onto https://www.mysocialife.com/events/.

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