ACEC: Australian Computers in Education Conference: CyberSmart


Embedding a Cyber Smart program into the curriculum.

Presenter: Greg Gebhart

National Curriculum: Standard 4

4.4 Maintain Student Safety

  • Provide learning opportunities on cyber bullying and how to report
  • Provide students with the information on safe use of social media.

4.5 Use ICT Safely, responsibility and ethically

  • Provide lessons to students on plagiarism
  • Provide students with the curriculum that identifies key online risks and issues.

How do we embed Cyber Safety within current programs in the curriculum?

There is no doubt that we, as educators see the importance of raising student awareness about issues regarding online safety. There are constant changes, risks and obstacles we face online and it is our responsibility to equip our students with the tools and strategies to safely engage with the online world. In my teaching experience I have created a Digital Citizenship Unit of Inquiry with my Year 6 students to address such issues.

I found this statistic fascinating: The average number of student personal digital devices is 4 or more each! This includes devices such as iPad’s, phones, laptops, gaming consoles, iPods etc. It was also interesting to note that whilst the number of mobile phones for students hasn’t really changed, they have instead progressed from standard mobile phones to Smart Phones, allowing further access to online activities.

Less than 5% of Primary Schools students are on Facebook. There has been a shift away from Facebook and a move towards other social networking sites and apps such as Instagram and Kik. This is due to Facebook becoming an increasingly adult world where students are being friended by their parents, family members etc. We need to remind our students about the security settings within each app and site. For example many students are using Instagram to upload their personal pics, not realising that even though they are sharing these pictures with their friends lists, the pictures themselves become property of Google images and can be used on Google and found by strangers if searched. I have students in Year 6 who are currently using Instagram and I wonder if they realise this…note to self: remind my class about this in our next Digital Citizenship lesson.

Here are some Sites/ Apps which are popular amongst students ranging from primary to high school age:


KIK: Kik has limited security settings, it is meant for young adults (17+), we find many offenders on this app, searching for young people. Do not recommend KIK to students, talk about the lack of safety and how to change the settings to not allow strangers to connect with you.

YouTube (13+): So many students have YouTube accounts and upload videos of themselves to share with others. Again there are privacy settings and choices of who you share your videos with. Golden rule of if you wouldn’t share this with your grandma, don’t share it online.

Vine (17+) (6 second videos) Risky behaviours are being displayed here, students dare each other to do things to get their 6 seconds of fame online. We need to warn students about these risky behaviours and what impact 6 seconds can have on your digital reputation.

Tumbler (13+) (majority of kids not using this now)

askFM (13+) has recently purchased this site and have promised to clean the site up and restructure it. It is not one to recommend to children.

Whisper. This site has been linked to teenage suicides, it allows people to comment and be completely anonymous, which is why students like it, but also allows for some terrible posting and behaviours.

SnapChat: This app is being used by some of my students. The idea is that students can share a photo and set a time limit for that photo and then it “disappears”. The issue is that these images are being shared but then captured and stored and shared again! There are Snap Chat cheats to collect the images without the sender realising their photo has been captured. The names of the cheats are: Snap Save, Snap-Hack Pro, Snap Capture. I wonder if my students are aware of this???

It is so important for us to create an awareness of the importance of Security Settings. We need to not only tell students to change their settings but also show them where they are and how to activate them. Sometimes it is simply one setting that can take you from high risk to low risk.

We need to develop the idea of Digital Identities and how they are your real identity too. Teaching the whole person and developing their well-being. Cyber safety is viewed negatively in the eyes of students, there is the “been there done that” mentality. However, the Digital Citizenship topic is seen in a positive light, looking at who you are as a person online and the values and behaviours you display that project who you are as a person.

Resources to investigate:

CyberSmart Website: Some great resources for teachers, parents and students

Bogus Websites to share with kids:

This website gives examples of websites that are full of completely false facts. They are quite clever but can be used to teach students how to identify good sources of information. Check them out.


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