COVID-19 has kept kids indoors, isolated from friends, and driven to increased screen time. But for many, that comes with challenges.
Last week, MySociaLife, South Africa’s leading digital life skills, online safety and social media educators, asked students what digital life orientation lesson they wanted next. And we were shocked by the answer…
- 44% chose Mental Health as the topic they would request next from MySociaLife
- 22% chose to ask for help with attention and focus
- 60% said their screen time had increased by 3 hours or more
Before Lockdown our teens and pre-teens struggled with life online lacking the maturity and emotional regulation to control the devices and content they watch, play and engage with for many hours a day. With increased screen time, these problems have only magnified, according to Founder of MySociaLife, Dean McCoubrey. And yet there are less than a handful of digital experts in the entire country that cover this extent of digital education.
Schools are feeling overwhelmed with firstly the rapid move to “Corona School” requirements and now back to getting schools, ready to welcome students back to a safe environment of learning and finding time to fit in the extra’s is intimidating and overwhelming but our kids need the guidance and support to ensure that they are safer and smarter online.
As a result, SA’s leading ‘Digital Life Skills’ program in schools has now been made available by video for life orientation or IT teachers to run easily using a combination of lesson plan, slide deck with videos and animations, workshop exercises and an end of module test. Click here for a video explainer.
One challenge is that schools are nervous to add more to their plate, and ask more of a stretched Life Orientation or IT Teacher. But McCoubrey has found two solutions for schools: “MySociaLife can either teach via webinar -logging in via a simple link, and interacting with our Head Digital Life Skills Trainer. Alternatively we also offer a complete teaching pack and lesson plan for L.O. or IT Teachers to run with. It’s super simple.”
Using a globally renowned digital curriculum and supported by specialists in mental health, privacy and security, the 8-module program covers:
- Mental Health and Resilience
- Critical Thinking
- Focus Tools
- Digital Identity
- Privacy and Security
- Digital Values
- Sexting (for teen students)
Schools can purchase the video program and we release two (60-minute) modules per term to ensure the 8-modules can be completed within one school year.”
For some background on MySociaLife in action, click here. “We have seen that it’s near-impossible for schools to try and manage this via Life Orientation simply because of the fast pace of evolution and the secrecy of students in this area of their lives.” He also explained that to provide this point, repeated feedback via surveys has illustrated that less than 5% of students in any school would go to the school counsellor about a social media or bullying issue. They won’t take the chance of losing their phones and being ostracized from the community.
The data is surprising even to us, of what kids are struggling with. They appear confident online, but their brains aren’t equipped for the complexity. That is why every school should have a digital life skills program in place. Few people understand the extent of the digital landscape” he says.