VSB tackles safety online with innovative internet and social media safety project

With over 1.3 million Canadian children accessing social media websites such as Facebook it is clear that keeping kids safe online is as important as keeping them safe in school. Recognizing the lack of education and awareness around social media safety and online awareness, the VSB began the Mentoring Internet Awareness (MIA) Project a partnership with education funding partner Coast Capital Savings, VSB students, educators, the Killarney and Gladstone Community Schools Teams and industry experts.

The MIA Project is a multi-tiered mentorship venture in which a core presentation on Internet safety and awareness will be developed and then presented by students to their peers and younger students. The MIA Project will focus on not only engaging and educating youth on the negative aspects of social media, but also on its positive uses.

The overall goal? Create awareness among students of their online behavior and information sharing so they participate in the technology in a safe and educated manner.

To assist in developing the MIA project, the VSB engaged Jesse Miller of Mediated Reality to help guide the program.

"The Vancouver School Board's proactive approach to social media education and awareness is cutting edge," said Jesse Miller, Principal of Mediated Reality."I have presented to over 100,000 students across BC in the past year and no other school board has taken the initiative to develop a program like this. By recognizing the value of a peer-to-peer approach to education, you have teens leading by example to their younger cohorts. It's a fantastic model and one we hope can be replicated across the province in the future."

Coast Capital Savings, who has funded previous VSB programs such as Learning Is First (LIFT), has generously donated $4,500.00 to kick-start the program. Miller has offered his consulting services at a substantially discounted rate.

Students from both Gladstone and Killarney Secondary Schools will be engaged in the development of the project and trained by Miller, Killarney Secondary Drama Department teachers Massemo Rocchetta and Kristin Mattock and senior drama students along with Gladstone teacher Cos Natola and some of his senior drama students.

The MIA team will then make presentations to their family of elementary schools, reaching an anticipated audience of over one thousand students in the coming months.

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