Saturday, January 19, 2008

Briefing - Cyberwellness

on 18 January 2008 @ Edutorium

The Programme:

  • An overview of Cyberwellness - the rationale of hyping up this Cyberwellness thingy.
  • What the Cyberwellness starter emcompasses and how it can be used.
  • Sharing by Dr Angeline Khoo on Internet Safety and Gaming.


Some Points:

  • Cyberwellness is about the well-being of internet users, and in this case, it's our students - the schools' focus. And of course, this includes getting them understand the risk in the cyberspace and knowing how to react to it or prevent getting into 'trouble'. The 3-step process - SENSE > THINK > ACT
  • Taking stock of the current status - having high internet penetration (which was a few folds since 1999), then potential issues have become real issues of today. This is especially so as technology evolves over the years. Several issues to be tackled include:
  • (a) Irresponsible blogging - especially in our multi-racial & multi-cultural society - a matter of knowing how to exercise graceful expressions and respect to others and oneself.
  • (b) Addiction to Games - this happens when the 'practice' interferes with one's normal life. From the findings, 78% of our teens play games for a minimum of 1 hour per week.
  • (c) Cyberbullying - there's more frequent report on this aspect... one case cited with the one reported by the papers last year - that the girl was cyberbullied by a group of female classmates by the postings they put up in the web.
  • (d) Unsafe Behaviour - Findings show that 47% chat, 61% used instant messaging while 84% email... and many disclose their identity, in one way or another. For instance, teens put up private information such as addresses and schools in public portals, without knowing such disclosures will open themselves to dangers. Also, through dialogues over the IMs, predators prompted to gather information... In fact, such cases have been reported on papers too!
  • (e) Pornography - It's really a thin fine line between what's indecent and art!
  • (f) Undesireable communities - of course, this refers to those that cultivate extreme behaviour and thinking...
  • (g) Copyright Infringement
  • (h) Lack of Parental Guidance


  • The purpose of the package (ie. Framework & starter kit) is to provide schools with help and guidance in planning cyberwellness programme, guided by 3-step process: SENSE > THINK > ACT - to help pupils to translate their understanding of issues into appropriate responses (through actions).
  • Other opportunities to reinforce (beyond classroom practices) include: Assembly programmes, Meet-the-Parents session (which is a means to engage parents - that helps to develop a two-prong approach, where school and parents work hand-in-hand for the well-being of the children).
  • One useful website: School-Family Education Scheme


Sharing by Dr Angeline Khoo

touches on...

Internet Safety

  • Online Dis-inhibition Effect - self-disclosure increases when go online. In fact, I do agree with her... In the cyberspace, one can easily hide his/her identity... and the mind is set free to express him/her-self, that normally would not be said in front of another person. Hence, one's behaviour online and offline could be very different... Oops! That reminded me of Dr Jackal and Mr Hyde!
  • Pornography - as mentioned earlier, it's very subjective... well, it's really a matter of perspectives. On the other hand, we also recognise that some seek pornography because of curiosity.
  • Blogging - by disclosing too much information (eg. photographs), it could provide chances for pedophile to groom their potential victims. In fact, read about this sometime last year, about a group of parents, who are blog enthusiasts, came together to form a support group on how to go about combating this problem. Yes, it's a concern when children's photos are put up... well... not just little children's, even when it comes to teens or adults... There were people who misuse photos in the web - photos were copied and 'vandalise'... Oops! Key personnel and discipline masters are normally top in the list of immature students! (well, saw this with my own eyes about 5 years ago!)
  • Cyberbullying - (a) Cyberbullies are harder to detect because of the anonymity of the net. (b) While they know their victims, their victims do not know who they are. (c) They are less likely to fear punishment since they are often hard to identify.
  • Cybersex - A virtual sex encounter in which two or more persons connected remotely via a computer network send one another sexually explicit messages describing a sexual experience. It’s a form of role-playing in which participants pretend they are having actual sexual intercourse, by describing their actions and responding to their chat partners in mostly written form designed to simulate their own sexual feelings and fantasies. To illustrate this, Dr Khoo shared with us a dialogue when a predator how he tried to move from cybersex to phone sex... and face-to-face! Such interaction is normally fully text, while images come in when it's webcam-to-webcam.

Digital Gaming: Researches on games by

  • Video Game Addiction: Audioclip on "Mom Tells Kid No More World of Warcraft"
  • WoWdetox is a volunteer-run web site aimed at people with a gaming addiction to World of Warcraft. Here gamers and ex-gamers can share their testimonies freely and anonymously.

Some Positive effects of videogame playing

  • Process certain visual information as well as for combat
  • Improve laparoscopic skills: Have heard about this several times... that says surgeons perform better if they play games... Like it or not, I just wonder how true it is, to what extent? What kind of video games one play matters! OK, I trust that the reflex and psychomotor skills are better... however, depending on the context they are immersed in (in the first place)... It requires quick-thinking...
  • Helping children with attention deficit disorder
  • Games are part of well-adjusted lifestyle
  • Use as a method of pain management
  • Establishing online social relationships

Why are they important to children and teens

  • Promote positive feelings
  • Provide outlet for aggression, has cathartic effect
  • Has potential as learning tools
  • Meet psychological needs
  • Entertainment and leisure
  • Emotional coping – from loneliness, stress, low self-esteem
  • Escape from reality
  • Satisfying social needs – making new friends, strengthening relationships

Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name:Online Games as "Third Places"

Game Environments... Yee (2006)

Game environments as “places where alternative identifies are conceived and explored. They are parallel worlds where cultures, economies and societies are being created.

They are environments where the relateionships that form and the derived experiences can rival those of the physical world. They are new platforms for social science research. They are places where people fall in love, get married, elect governors, attend poetry readings, etc… MMORPGs… They are not just games”

  • The average age the participants first started playing digital games is 7.25 years.


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