Being Alert and ‘Online safety’ education and awareness is vital in today’s modern world.


Where do you start with informing all learners/beginners on how to ‘Be safe’ online?

And where do you stop – because who actually knows ‘what’ or ‘who’ is out there.

Those ‘Friend or Foe’ or ‘Genuine or Scammer’ scenarios are hard to navigate.

It is even harder for us to let learners loose on the keyboard in front of a screen unsupervised, regardless of their abilities. I would like to refer to a cohort of people as ‘diverse learners’ as we are speaking in educational terms rather than labelling any particular disability type.

People with diverse learning needs deserve equal opportunities to learn and grow using today’s technology. And as educators /role models/ parents we should be providing information that is accessible and understood by all people and from a young age.

Let’s be honest if you said ‘don’t do that’, what are many youngsters going to do? Exactly right, more often than not ‘they will do it’. Would the learner with diverse needs always understand this type of written text below, perhaps not.

In general (from the internet or other sources), we may be given some do’s and don’ts, like these below:

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One solution to improve this information as ‘accessible’ to more people, would be to include a plain English version, here is an example of one, which ironically is found online. Problem right there!
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Whether we are teaching through verbal, written or physical instruction, there is a real concern as to whether these do and don’t behaviours are being heard or understood.

Back to ‘Online Safety’, let’s pick a term that is being used often:


 Cyberbullying is using technology to hurt someone else by sending hurtful messages, pictures or comments.

We don’t want our learners falling prey to cyberbullying and just as equally we don’t want them to cyberbully someone else.


Be Kind – Rather than, ‘Don’t be a Cyberbully’ is a great place to start.

 Yes, all learners need to understand the basic fundamentals (do’s and don’ts) of ‘how to stay safe’ but let us consider a focus on being Smart, Alert, Strong, Kind And Brave. Drawing on these human traits would provide a learner with a certain amount of responsibility and ownership of any situation and should ideally enhance their online experience. We may be using technology but we are all still human.

 A program called ‘Be Internet Awesome’ was released by Google. In its original form it was designed to be used as a curriculum in schools (for 9-12 year olds).

There are five fundamental topics of digital safety, each one has its own human trait

1. Share with Care (Be internet Smart

2. Don’t fall for fake (Be internet alert)

3. Secure your Secrets (Be internet strong)

4. It’s Cool to be kind (Be internet kind)

5. When in doubt, talk it out (Be internet Brave)

 Stumbling across this free to use resource has been exciting because I see that using interactive slides, Q and A’s and even an online game for each topic has a lot of merit towards  getting the most out of the internet (safely) and alerting learners to certain risks and downsides of the Online World

 As a Developmental Educator, who teaches learners with diverse learning needs I hold a vision to ‘Create a Community of Diverse Learners’. The next program I deliver will be the BE INTERNET SAFE AND INTERNET AWESOME program and with all respect to the intellectual property of Google, I will present the information in a way that can be understood by more people/learners in our community. Example using plain English resources, having audio available and many pictures to deliver the same information.

 ‘Safety and Security’ is one topic of a six part training program ‘The Rising Sun – Getting Ready for your Working Day’. Aimed at school leavers who have diverse learning needs and will be looking for a pathway toward getting their first job. The topics all relate to ‘Employability Skills’ and use of technology to assist and break down barriers. Get in touch if you want more information, it will be available March 2021 as an online training program and would be accessible through NDIS funding.

 To kickstart the Six part training program I am doing face to face small group sessions (numbers and age groups are considerable factors) in Merimbula, some games and movement activities will be included to aid and integrate new learning.

 I very much look forward to teaching the  BE INTERNET SAFE AND INTERNET AWESOME program, and placing emphasis on what we want people to do rather than what we don’t want. Please feel free to contact me for more information about upcoming programs/courses.

 As we draw to the end of 2020, a ‘kind’ of contagion such as ‘kindness’ is something we all want to spread. Let’s DO! this !!

 Appy Connections provides dynamic therapy, training and technology support.

It makes a difference… for today and tomorrow.

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