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Building Healthy Relationships Online

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Carrington Christmas

Carrington Christmas

About the Author

Carrington Christmas is a Black Scotian-Mi’kmaw German woman residing on unceded Algonquin territory. She is a storyteller, a singer, a gamer and passionate about empowering Indigenous youth to reach their full potential. Carrington previously worked at the Native Women’s Association of Canada as the Director of Youth.

Online Safety
Lesson Plan

Introduction

The Internet and the virtual world have become an important aspect of the lives for many young people, it allows us to stay connected with friends and family, and also create new relationships. Children and youth need to be aware of how to responsibly navigate the online world and ensure their personal safety.

Students will be introduced to how they can build healthy relationships and boundaries while being mindful of the dangers that can come with the virtual world.

Following this module students will be better equipped online safety tips and how they can build positive relationships.

Learning Goals

  • Society media safety tips
  • Be able to identify potentially harmful users online (cyberbullies)
  • Build healthy relationships online

Vocabulary

Cyberbullying
A form of bullying online that includes sending hurtful messages, photos, videos, spreading rumours, gossiping, etc.

Guiding Questions

  1. What are some of the benefits of making friends online? (example: you can meet people from around the world)
  2. What are some of the potential dangers of meeting people online? (example: cyberbullying)
  3. Why is it important to keep our personal information safe when we’re online?

Curriculum Links

This module provides an opportunity to have an open discussion with students on the importance of creating healthy relationships and boundaries online and to practice online safety. Students will be able to critically think about the benefits that come with developing online relationships while being mindful of the associated risks.

Materials

  • Ball (small-medium sized)
  • Blank paper
  • Markers, crayons, pencil crayons

Non-Computer Activity

Ground Rules

Setting ground rules together is important for interactions and discussions, it allows for participants to have an active role in creating a safe environment. In this activity students will say their name and what they need in order to feel safe and comfortable (examples: respect, trust, laughter, support).

  • Have the students stand in a circle
  • The first person who has the ball will say their name and what they need in order to feel safe and supported in the classroom
  • They will then pass the ball to someone else in the circle
  • The person who catches it will have to say the previous person’s name/what they need and then pass it to someone else until everyone has had a turn
  • This activity can be done twice so the students become familiar with the activity.

Following this activity students will be given a piece of paper where they will make their own ground rules for what they need to feel safe online.

Here are some things to be mindful of while you’re online:

  1. Always have your parents or guardian check your privacy and security settings
  2. Do not tell strangers your location
  3. Do not share your passwords with people online
  4. Make sure only the people you know can see your personal social media profiles and can add you as a friend
  5. Keep personal information to yourself, be careful with what you share online and what you post
  6. Online bullying is real: if you are experiencing it or someone makes you uncomfortable and is not respecting your “ground rules”, tell a parent, teacher or someone you trust

Computer Activity

Students can watch this video, titled Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships. It explores what makes a relationship unhealthy or healthy whether it is with a friend or a romantic partner.

Following watching the video students will make their own video project, using this website, on what an online healthy relationship looks like to them.

  • Once on the website click “start from scratch” in the top right-hand corner
  • Choose a title of your video project
  • Pick a scene for your video
  • Enter your text (what is the message the youth are trying to share, this can connect with the “ground rules” they created for themselves)
  • They can add several scenes to make their video longer
  • Once the text is done, choose colour, add any audio (they can also upload their own sounds)
  • Preview the video then save it!
  • Each student will then present their video to the group

Resources

Additional Resources

  • We Matter – An Indigenous-led national non-profit that is committed to Indigenous youth empowerment, hope, and life promotion. Connecting Indigenous youth with positive messages of hope, culture, wellness, healing and mental health. Check out their website for more information!
  • New Journeys – An online platform for telling and sharing stories pertaining to Indigenous experiences in Canada where you can find multiple resources to help you stay safe and make informed decisions about your life. Check out their online database. If Internet is inaccessible, you can print a few resources to disseminate or contact New Journeys to promote their materials in your communities

Social Media Resources

Are there any interesting subject experts that teachers or students might want to follow?

  • Strong Minded Inuit is a youth led initiative that incorporates language and culture using rap to promote suicide awareness and prevention. Check out their Facebook page.
  • Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Indigenous hip-hop group from Haisla Nation that uses music to tell stories, challenge stereotypes and raise awareness. Check out their website.

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