One of the main things I am concerned individuals are overlooking when exploring technology is knowing what to do when you find questionable content or worse. Since I don’t feel like anything else out there is teaching individuals–as well as children–all the steps I feel they should take, I came up with my own acronym to help individuals remember what to do in such situations.
It’s a simple phrase that I believe accurately describes what we want the questionable things in our lives to do: DEPART.
D is for the phrase “Discern what is happening”. It is important for individuals to recognize what is happening so they can take the proper course of action.
E is for the phrase “Escape it”. Once we understand what is happening it’s important to know whether we should fight back, like when we find a virus that’s deleting our information, or run away from it, like when we come across pornography. The best way to know what we should do is to take a step back and execute the appropriate security plan of action.
When something violates our privacy or goes against what we believe is right it can cause immense feelings in us that can often be conflicting. It’s important for us to address those feelings and work through them so they do not prevent us from taking the appropriate actions in the future. Doing so helps us become aware of how we feel, make peace with what happened and allow us to do the next step.
Once something questionable has happened, it is important to understand how and why it happened so we can make the changes necessary to prevent it from happening again. This is part of the way we keep ourselves safe and helps us prepare to execute the next step.
The whole purpose of having rules around technology use and security settings is to keep us safe from the dangers and harmful things of cyberspace. Occasionally those rules will not be enough to block out the materials. When this happens, it’s important for us to take what we have learned about why and howthe questionable things got in and adjust our settings accordingly. When something doesn’t work the way it is supposed to we have to fix it right away so the vulnerabilities don’t continue to allow other bad things through.
There is no worse feeling in the world than making a mistake –especially a mistake that can have eternal consequences. One of the hardest parts for us to understand is that we have to trust ourselves to make mistakes and learn from them. Doing so helps us realize that we are all human, bad things are going to happen and the purpose of making mistakes is so that we can become a better version of ourselves. We must trust ourselves to make this change right now, and focus on the positive things that come from this experience.
My hope is that this phrase will become one that children and adults everywhere begin to remember anytime they come across something that makes them feel leery, and know what appropriate actions they should take. If you wish to hang this up in your classroom, office or home, click here to print out the pretty version.