Teachers, parents urged to ensure children’s safety amid shift to e-learning

With schools implementing alternative learning delivery modalities this school year wherein classes and other school-related activities will be coursed through various platforms using the Internet, the Department of Education (DepEd) partnered with Globe to help ensure children’s online safety. 

DepEd together with Globe created a program to educate teachers and parents on online safety dubbed The Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) via a series of workshops under the “Global Filipino Teacher Series.” 

The webinars are streamed via Facebook Live at the Globe Bridging Communities Facebook page and the DepEd official Facebook page.

PLAN International Philippines Cyber Safe Spaces Project Manager Sheila Estabillo, in one of the webinars, gave her insights on online safety for children. 

“Teach kids about technology at a young age,” she said, underscoring the importance of discussing the many benefits of technology as well as the risks. 

“Discuss the importance of respecting privacy, protecting personal info and being critical thinkers and (also) have empathy,” she added. “Monitor what your kids are doing on the internet and as parents or teachers, keep learning about this technology so we can keep up.” 

Meanwhile, Globe Business Enablement and Training Group Georges Dizon explained that the Philippines ranks highly when it comes to online risks for children. 

“The Philippines is a top source of child pornography,” he said. “The country is likewise the second most dangerous online (or with high online risks) according to the DQ institute study in 2018."

Given this, he noted that “there should also be a careful use of hashtags as predators use hashtags to look for victims online.”

The parents’ module discusses responsible parenting in today’s digital world, especially amidst the pandemic which has pushed children to online activities like shopping, chatting, watching news and learning. The risks for children involve cyberbullying, video game addiction, offline meetings, and online sexual behavior are also tackled.

Globe’s webinar series also covers teachers. In the teachers’ module, the focus is on critical thinking which is crucial for educators to ensure that the information they use for teaching is based on facts and are properly cited with credible sources.

Meanwhile, DepEd Region 12 Human Resources Development Division (HRDD) Regional Chief Mervie Yap Seblos thanked Globe for the initiative. 

“There has been no letup in the programs and support that they provide,” she said. “We are thankful that even back then, decades ago, when DepEd was not as advanced and aggressive in digital education, Globe has already been there helping us in initiating reforms and education.” 

The Global Filipino Teacher Series is open to all teaching and non-teaching staff of the DepEd in the national office, regional offices, and division offices, and all public schools nationwide. In 2019, Globe turned over the face-to-face version of the Digital Thumbprint Program modules to DepEd for integration into the K to 12 curriculum.