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Digital Literacy—Staying Safe on the Internet

by Sarah Tauffil (Secondary 1H), Sarah Chan (Secondary 2A), Ilya Aqilah (Secondary 2D), Joshua Ho (Secondary 3B), Kylee Tan (Secondary 3E) and Ang Jan Tsi (Secondary 3F)

Giddy with elation, the students gasped excitedly as they sighted the stacks of boxes at the front of the classroom. Animated chatter, littered with ‘ooh’s and ‘wow’s, filled the classrooms as the students’ hands itched to tear the layers of plastic, eager to see their new devices for the very first time. 

The Secondary One, Two and Three students received their Personal Learning Device (PLD) in the form of an iPad. This was part of MOE’s National Digital Literacy Programme (NDLP) for our schools to help students strengthen their digital literacy and to improve engagement in teaching and learning. However, venturing into digital learning left parents concerned about their children’s welfare, where accessing harmful internet content such as pornographic and gambling-related websites or those with extremist content could lead to calamitous consequences. This is where digital literacy comes in.  

Digital literacy refers to an individual's ability to find, evaluate, and clearly communicate information on various digital platforms. With many people, especially youths, becoming over-reliant on these platforms today, what can they do to stay safe on the internet and become more tech savvy? 

The Peer Support Board (PSB) established a new Digital Literacy Department! Ms Brenda Nio, one of the teachers-in-charge, came up with a segment called ‘Digi-Byte’, which is aired during morning assembly. Digi-Byte promotes digital literacy by airing clips and interviews about cyberbullying and providing tips on how to stay safe on the internet. This is especially important because students are empowered to take charge of their own learning digitally. 

“Our world today depends heavily on the internet and communication technology, and these continue to advance so rapidly that it can sometimes be hard to keep up,” Ms Nio explained. “With more and more everyday tasks now made possible through apps, there are also increasing risks such as scams and internet addiction which we can fall prey to if we are not equipped and prepared. If we are well-prepared to navigate the digital world, we can reap the benefits that were intended in the development of such technology!”

Micheal Eric Dyson once said, ‘If journalism is the first draft of history, then digital literacy is the first blush on the first page of history.’ 

Amidst this COVID-19 crisis, our educational landscape has also evolved, as we pursue digital methods of teaching and learning and pave the way for much more to come. The care and concern our teachers and the PSB have put in to help all of us become more digitally literate is admirable. May we continue to help one another stay safe on the internet!