That much of our lives now depend on the internet and smart devices, is no longer a secret. You now have your personality and your digital persona. If you are in doubt, count the number of people around you who do not have an email address, a social media account, a smartphone, a laptop, or does online shopping, banking, or banking. Chances are, almost everyone does so, and the situation is not that much different even in underdeveloped countries.
Technology seems to have spread its tentacles to all corners of the world; where it has not reached it is only a matter of time before it does. South Africa for instance, is one of the most developed countries in Africa, and it is also among the leading when it comes to ICT infrastructure and the number of people using them.
For South Africa, and any other African country taking matters security serious, it is high time cyber security awareness be taught to the masses. And where else better to start that in schools? It is at school after all that we learn most of the things we use in life, ICT has become part and parcel of modern life, and it is time school caught up and start teaching these new digital world skills.
South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has taken the initiative of educating teachers on how to protect the digital persona. The teachers in South Africa, in a nutshell, will be taught how best to employ cybersecurity to ensure a user’s account, privacy, and security is not compromised.
Your digital persona is very real, and it is the virtual (online) personality you express on various platforms. Be it on social media and aspects of your work, business, schooling, and education that you carry out online.
WASPA reckons that by teaching South African teachers matters cybersecurity, the teachers will then transfer those skills to students in their classroom. This will have a trickle-down effect leading to the population in South Africa becoming cybersecurity aware and armed with the right ICT skills to protect their digital personas.
“With learners comprising a significant proportion of cellphone users who are able to access social media and the worldwide web using their mobile devices,” said Ilonka Badenhorst, the General Manager of WASPA. “It is critical to start talking to teachers about the importance of managing their own online personas.
While citizens are protected from defamation, for example, to some extent by legislation, it’s difficult to enforce local laws in cyberspace. It’s much more effective to equip our educators with the appropriate tools so they can reduce the probability of themselves and their learners being unfairly targeted on the web.”