In recent months, the Romanian Safer Internet Centre has noticed a significant increase in teachers’ interest in developing digital skills and online safety know-how (tools and best practices) for themselves and for their pupils. Emergency remote teaching and learning have changed the perceptions of the effectiveness of distance learning and the role of the teacher in the digital age. Many children are still lacking equipment to connect to the virtual classes, particularly in less developed areas of Romania, but it is only a matter of time before they can connect. For many Romanian children, 2020 has been the year they become internet users, digital citizens – a role which they know very little about. Even families who have been online for many years know little about what children’s rights and obligations are online, and the risks they are exposed to – and this is where teachers can contribute greatly.
© Save the Children Romania
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking online courses has become the preferred method of gaining new knowledge and skills, compared to traditional training programmes, as teachers want to carry on with their professional development. Save the Children Romania responds to teachers’ need to become specialists in online safety and are providing free-of-charge access for a limited amount of time to the first self-paced online learning course in Romanian. This course was developed by a professional team of people with many years of experience in child protection and rights. It contains lectures, audiovisual recordings and forum discussions with other participants, as well as tests at the end of each chapter and at the end of the course.
The first part dives into the world of digital natives, including relevant statistics about the way children use digital technologies and the internet, the rights that children have online and the adults’ roles in responding to the children’s needs. The journey then continues as the participant learns about the potential risks related to internet use: excessive time spent online, cyberbullying, online dating and sexting, disinformation, inappropriate content, mental health issues that might occur.
© Save the Children Romania
The course then invites participants to explore the opportunities for growth and creativity the online environment provides, while approaching digital competences, online reputation and the creation of online content. Another topic that is generously covered is the importance of digital technologies in online learning, teaching and training, including interactive methods in the virtual classrooms. The course also looks into the development of better partnerships between schools and families within communities, in order to contribute to a safe and useful integration of modern technologies in the lives of children.
This course is expected to train over 5,000 teachers and other professionals who work with children in the field of online safety and to further involve the participants in the community projects that Save the Children Romania is constantly implementing on a national level. This next step of practical application of the theoretical information gained in the online course teachers is essential in the skill development process and also in the real-life impact that it needs to have on society.
Find out more about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.