Math. Science. Selfie? Cybersafety to be taught in PH schools

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The Department of Education has teamed up with public schools in the country to teach students how to stay safe in this hyperconnected world.

Everywhere you turn, there seems to be a baby or toddler immersed in the bright lights of a tablet or mobile phone, or children, all the more teenagers, with their phones glued to their hands, like their life depended on it. Cybersafety is more than ever an issue in our hyperconnected country.

Even with the numerous horror stories out there about children refusing to go to school after a bout of cyberbullying (read about it here), reputations ruined due to scandalous photos or videos, or meet ups gone wrong, kids are still obsessively immersed in the online world. Staying safe while being connected is not only necessary, but it must be learned by our children as soon as they are able and willing to do so.

Read: Digital kidnapping: Find out why people are stealing photos of your kids

The Department of Education hopes to help parents in their plight to keep their children safe as well. DepEd, in cooperation with Stairway Foundation—a non-stock, non-profit, non-government childcare organization catering to street children in the Philippines—launched the Cybersafe Project Manuals.

Education secretary Armin Luistro has stated that nine out of 10 students use the Internet, so the manuals do not aim to hinder students from going online, but will encourage them to stay safe and be responsible when it comes to their online usage.

These manuals, which are the first of its kind in the Philippines, are lesson plans that teachers will use to educate students about staying safe online. The manuals are easily downloadable online, both in low-resolution form for online reading, and in high resolution for printing.

These will be used by teachers to teach students in Grade 5, 6, and junior high, with one manual dedicated to students in Grade 5 and 6, and one manual dedicated for junior high students.


Each lesson plan is an hour long at most, and includes guide questions, tips, and activities for the students to participate in. The topics range from why you should be safe when taking selfies (are they as harmless as you think they are?) to how to deal if the student chances upon online pornography, does sexting, or has experienced any form of cyberbullying.

Find out what a "text clan" is on the next page.

The topics of both manuals are almost the same, except that the manual for Junior High students also tackles online gambling, online boyfriends or girlfriends, and text clans (text clans are groups that are formed purely via text, and members are oftentimes “recruited” into the “clan” by a current member. This can be dangerous in different ways, as some members turn out to be predators.)

Read: UN Reports 750,000 pedophiles constantly prowling online

Most of the activities are meant to be done in groups, while the guide questions and tips are very helpful for parents who want to educate their own children of the perks and perils of being online.

Tips such as fixing your privacy settings, the difference between safe and risky selfies, or what information to share online is worth telling your children about.

While most of the tips can be chalked up to common sense, like don’t set up meetings with people whom you've only recently met online (they can turn out to be pedophiles) or don’t send naked photos to someone even if it's someone they “trust”; it’s worth reiterating, because it’s never a big deal until it actually happens to someone you love and care about—especially your own children.

At the end of each manual, there are steps to be taken and organizations you can reach out to, just in case a student or your child has already or is going through online abuse.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from Philippines!

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Written by

Maita De Jesus