Youth-2-Youth, (Y-2-Y) seeks to find ways to facilitate teens teaching internet safety to children. The Program is designed to embrace the premise that youth themselves are the best agents of positive change in behaviours within their peer groups and can be informed role models that provide other children and youth with feedback, support and advice on online behaviours during this important evolutionary phase of internet integration. Educators are recognizing the increasingly important role that technology has in the lives of children, youth and adults and are beginning to incorporate mobile devices, such as iPads, into the classroom learning experience and this Program fills and important role of helping students acquire the critical thinking skills to safely navigate their online worlds and be responsible digital citizens.
The Program includes handbooks and resources that will allow schools and groups to deliver the presentations and classroom workshops in both secondary and elementary schools. The Program may also include an online forum for youth to continue to be informed about relevant issues. Secondary students, with the guidance of trained facilitators, will attend a classroom presentation on internet safety and the Youth-2-youth Program. They will interview participating elementary students about their online behaviours (social media, privacy, gaming, the permanence of digital images and online behavior). Once back in their classrooms, teens will participate in several interactive classroom-based learning sessions about being safe and responsible in the online world and assess the results of their interviews with the elementary students. Teens then work in teams and develop short interactive presentations (for example life-sized board games, improvisational skits, creating a school pledge banner or discussing YouTube clips), for the younger students. The culmination of the Program activities is a half day forum at an elementary school where the high school student groups present to rotating groups of elementary school students, parents and teachers.
This Program has shown that;
- Students who participate make better online choices.
- High school youth more effectively internalized the Internet safety messages when they had to teach them to children rather than be passive audience members.
Teens reflect on their own risky online behaviours more critically when they interview younger children.
- Children responded better to older youth teaching about the internet than they might have to adults teaching the same message.
To develop resources and handouts for a train-the-trainer model implementation of the Youth-2-youth Program in high schools throughout the Greater Vancouver and Lower Mainland areas.
To enhance the sustainability of SOLOS and ensure our ability to delivery ethical internet safety education.
2005/2006 - Youth-2-Youth was first piloted supported by funding from the McCreary Foundation. That year 134 teens attended six presentations where CDs, booklets and handouts for the workshops for the children were left with them. Only two of those teens led a workshop for 20 children that year. (Total children and youth involved =134+20)
2006/2007 - The Program that year had 44 teens attended three presentations. Nine of those teens led 7 presentations to 188 children (Total children and youth involved = 44+188)
2007/2008 and 2008/2009 - SOLOS was unable to secure funding for the Program to operate in these years.
2009/2010 - The Youth-2-Youth Program was implemented at Ecole Mission Secondary School (MSS). Overall 16 high school students presented 12 workshops to 240 students in four area elementary schools on a budget of $8000.
2010/2011 and 2011/2012 SOLOS -- SOLOS partnered with the Vancouver School Board to co-deliver the Program, at David Thompson Secondary and surrounding participating elementary schools. In 2011/12, the second year of the project, 3 secondary classes (two Planning 10 classes and one Grade 12 Family Management) were paired with the grade four students at three elementary schools - Fleming, Douglas and Tecumseh.
Comments from teen reports 2006/2007:
"The students were excited about the topic because it related to the world around them."
" We were amazed at how many kids did not think about safety when they are online."
"The most inspiring aspect for us was the number of questions that kids had during and after the presentation."
"We were surprised about how many students posted their personal information online, not realizing that anyone with unsafe motives could reach that information and become a threat.”
"The kids were very hungry to know more about how they should keep themselves safe online."
"The information we were giving the kids was a surprise to them."
"It seems they know how to use a computer, but don’t think enough about safety."
"It was surprising how many kids had Facebook and Twitter accounts even though they are underage."
Questions the children asked the teen presenters:
“Do you have an account on Facebook, and if you do, what do you do with it?”
“Why is being safe online so important?”
“How old do you have to be to be on Facebook?”
“What is so risky about the internet?”
“Who would I go to, if there was a problem online?”
Surveys results (David Thompson 2010/2011)
Surveys results (David Thompson 2010/2011) of the participating elementary and secondary students reflected their enthusiasm and demonstrated that some significant learning had taken place. Both showed an increased awareness of privacy issues online. For example, following the program, over 70% of elementary students indicated they would check with their parents before posting a picture online. In the same vein, secondary students’ rating of the importance of strong privacy settings increased by 24% between their pre- and post-surveys. Students also showed an increased understanding of the possible consequences of online behaviour as demonstrated in the 16% increase (from pre-to post) in the number of secondary students who indicated they consider the risks and consequences before making a decision about their online activities. Students’ comments probably best illustrate both their learning and their overall experience in the project. The following is a sample.
- “(I learned) that it could really affect someone’s feelings if you say something bad about them and always tell a parent if someone is cyber-bullying you. Never tell your address or any personal information.” Grade 4 student
- “(I learned) do not do cyber-bullying, do not talk to people online, do not send personal information, my favourite station was the jeopardy they taught us different stuff thank you for doing this program with us I really enjoyed it very much”. Grade 4 student
- “I learned the fact that what you post online is there forever. Embarrassing pictures and silly comments will still be there years after you post them.”
Grade 10 student
- “What I liked most …is that I learned a lot myself and during it and I got to share it with kids who are younger than me who need to know.” Grade 10 student
For information about having the Youth-2-youth Program in your school district,
or if you'd like to fund a Program in your area, please contact
Safe OnLine Outreach Society (SOLOS)
Registered Charity Tax No. 86021-9641-RR0001