In this workshop, participants will learn to identify ways information can be found online about people and will consider how judgments are made about a person when they post things online. This resource forms part of the “Cyber Heros” learning programme designed for 8 to 14 year olds.
Preparation time for facilitator
Time needed to complete activity (for learner)
Support material needed for training
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How we know what we (think we) know
Thereʼs a lot of personal information to be found on the Internet, some of which can cause us to think things or make guesses about people that turn out not to be true. These are the questions weʼre going to explore:
• What can we learn about a person from their personal information?
• What can we guess from personal information, even if we arenʼt sure?
• Do we know how this information was collected in the first place? How might we identify the source?
- Study the person
If you decide to go with the collections on the worksheet, everyone gets a copy to read. If you go with collections gathered as a class, choose three people, put their info into lists like in the worksheet, and make sure everyone gets their own copy and reads it.
- Write a description
Separate into groups, one character/person per group. Each group writes its own quick description of the person, answering the question: “Who do you think this person is?”
- Reveal the truth
Okay, now hereʼs the truth about our characters (remember to hold off reading these until each group’s description is set):
- Nina is a high school senior. She’s going to college next year, hopes to study chemical engineering, and eventually wants to start her own company. She cares most about: family, volunteering, pop culture, fashion.
- Lea is part of the high school basketball team. She’s 15 and lives in Brussels. She has an 8-year-old sister. She cares most about: baseball, studying art, playing the guitar, hanging with her friends.
- Ahmed is 14. He just joined the soccer team and has two cats. He’s very good at sketching and likes to build robots on weekends. He cares most about: technology, his soccer team, animals and animal rights.
Now, which of our guesses were correct, and which ones werenʼt? Why or why not? What did you learn from this activity?
When we see people’s posts, comments, and photos, we make guesses about them that arenʼt always correct, especially if we don’t know them.
That’s because what we’re seeing online is only part of who they are and what they care about. It could also be someone they’re just pretending to be, or it’s something they’re feeling only in the moment they’re posting it.
We can’t really know who they are or how they really feel until we know them in person – and even then it takes time!