Cyber Wellness refers to the positive well-being of Internet users. It involves an understanding of the risks of harmful online behaviours, an awareness of how to protect oneself and other Internet users from such behaviours.
MOE’s Cyber Wellness Framework
The Framework focuses on developing the child’s instinct to protect and empower him/her to take responsibility for his/her own well-being in cyberspace. Thus, this framework highlights two principles to guide students in their actions, describes a 3-step process to explore cyber wellness issues and encourages schools to partner parents in promoting cyber wellness among students.
- Respect for self & others
- Safe & responsible use
Respect for self & others
- Uphold own dignity in cyberspace (avoid surfing inappropriate sites or engage in illegal activities)
- Respect others (not using undesirable words or publishing undesirable materials that hurt others)
Safe & responsible use
- Identify symptoms and ill effects of dangerous and harmful online behaviour
- Think carefully about consequences
- Learn to protect oneself in cyberspace
- Make responsible choices
The process of Sense, Think and Act serves to highlight the stages that a student should undergo to prepare himself/herself to self-manage in cyberspace. The process could serve as a heuristic device to help teachers organise lessons on cyber wellness topics.
Sense- The first step in inculcating these principles is to create cyber awareness among the students. Students should be able to “sense” the risks of harmful behaviours online and learn how to manage such risks as well as protect themselves from the dangers.
Think- To develop students’ ability to respond to new encounters in cyberspace, it is important to provide opportunities for students to analyse, evaluate and reflect on cyber wellness issues.
Act- Students should eventually translate their understanding into actions that will keep them safe while online.
Students should always “be aware”, “think” before “acting” while they are online. Therefore, “Sense, Think and Act”is a simple learning cycle for students to adopt. Schools should reinforce this process when delivering their cyber wellness programmes.