Cornerstone launches CyberSafe Yuhself programmeThursday, April 29, 2021
BY ROSALEE WOOD
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Cornerstone Jamaica recently launched its cybersecurity awareness programme, CyberSafe Yuhself, at Manning's, Lennon High and Broughton Primary schools in Westmoreland.
The programme is aimed at equipping children, parents and teachers with the tools needed to safely navigate cyberspace.
With the onset of online learning due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organisation stated that it found it necessary to implement the programme in a bid to protect children, parents and teachers.
Emma Sharp Dalton-Brown, cyber safety specialist at Cornerstone Jamaica, told the Jamaica Observer West that “data collected from devices, profiles and online activities can detail highly specific information which can be exploited by bad actors, namely stalkers, bullies, blackmailers and hackers for their personal gain.”
“So while we are equipping them [children and teachers] with Internet and equipment, we must remember the dangers these children can face,” she stressed.
The course is written for three groups, grades one to three, grades four to six and grades seven to 13, and is being offered to each school at no charge.
Sharp Dalton-Brown has indicated that by the end of the first week in June, 11 partner schools would have completed their CyberSafe Yuhself training, making way for the organisation to move on to other schools in the parish and across Jamaica.
Cornerstone Jamaica intends to place schools in a position where they can continue the programme independently of the organisation, and add it to their curriculum.
“The programme was designed for teachers to continue the training sessions. It is not a one-off course,” Sharp Dalton-Brown stated.
“We train teachers on how to deliver the programme. There are four topics, lesson plans are already created for teachers, while videos and other resources are provided to assist with teaching.”
She said her organisation is seeking volunteers in an effort to deliver to more schools at a faster pace.
“In order to deliver to more schools at a faster pace, we are seeking volunteers who are interested in being a part of the Cornerstone Jamaica team to help to deliver the programme to schools across the island,” she noted.
Manning's school teacher, Jessica Davidson, said the programme was well received at her institution, noting that “the guidance counsellors are eager to have the programme delivered to the other forms.”
“Many students indicated that much of the content which was covered, especially in relation to location and some of the information that they share personally online, they did not know how to keep it private,” she note.
“It engendered a lot of discussion and back and forth with the presenter and it showed that the students were learning and they were appreciating the information being shared.”
Since starting the programme, Sharp Dalton-Brown has noted that while the feedback is positive, there are several areas of concern.
“The biggest difficulty we have is that 25 to 60 per cent of students show up to classes,” she stated. “This has a lot to do with Internet access, for some there is no Internet access in their communities, while for many others they simply cannot afford the data,” she pointed out.
Cornerstone Jamaica launched their Cornerstone Connex Programme in 2020 with the focus of getting teachers and students equipped with the necessary tools to carry out their online duties.
On October 3, the organisation completed the installation of Internet for their 11 partner schools in the parish of Westmoreland, with the intention to expand. This was done in collaboration with Digicel Jamaica.
Under the Cornerstone Connex programme, over 500 tablets and laptops have been distributed to their partner schools.
The organisation is in the process of preparing a learning centre in the community of Whitehall in Negril, Westmoreland, to provide internet access for students who do not have internet access at home. It is scheduled to be opened later this year.