Student Engagement

In this section is our Student Voice Guide to help educators understand what’s on top for students. You’ll also find links to articles for young people from netsafe.org.nz below.

Student Voice Guide

Understanding students’ knowledge and confidence when using digital technology means that schools and educators can be confident they are addressing issues that are relevant for young people.

The example questions below will help educators and schools to explore:

  • Young people’s knowledge about the online environment;
  • What young people identify as online issues, challenges and interests;
  • Their level of confidence and capability in safely managing themselves online.

The questions can be adapted to the method best suited for your classroom or school. They can be used to guide class discussions, lead group reflection activities or to create surveys.

Discussion questions

Consent before starting

Before you begin with the activity, it’s important to think about consent, confidentiality and support.

We suggest that you consider:

  • Gaining consent from students and parents/whānau;
  • Giving students the opportunity to opt out at any stage if they feel uncomfortable;
  • Providing information about what support is available (and ensuring it is available prior) should any student become concerned or upset throughout the process;
  • Clearly communicating how the information gathered will be used and who it will be shared with;
  • Providing assurance that responses will be anonymous (if using a survey).

1. How the Online World Works

  • What is the internet?
  • How long has the internet been around?
  • Is the internet owned by anyone?
  • Are there rules or regulations (e.g. laws) that we have to follow online?
  • If so, how does this work? If not, why do you think this might be?
  • Why do you think there are age restrictions on different websites or apps?
  • What kind of problems could happen if someone uses a website or app that is younger than the minimum sign-up age?
  • What do you think some of your rights and responsibilities are online?

2. How you are using digital technology

  • What does it mean to be ‘online’?
  • What kind of things do you like to do when you’re online?
  • What websites or apps do you use most often?
  • Do you create content for others to enjoy online? (E.g. videos, photos, songs/music, memes etc.)
  • Do you use websites/apps that are designed just for communicating with other people? If so, which ones?
  • Are there any age restrictions on the websites/apps that you use the most?
  • If so, are you younger the minimum sign-up age?
  • Are you able to easily tell who you’re talking to or connecting with when you’re online?
  • What are the risks and/or benefits to connecting with others you know/don’t know online?

3. The online world and the real you

  • What is the same/different about the offline/online world when connecting/socialising?
  • Do you think you change things about who you are or how you present yourself when you’re online? If so, in what ways?
  • What are the potential challenges/risks involved if we present other versions of ourselves online?
  • Are there any advantages/opportunities of presenting other versions of ourselves online?
  • Overall, do you think presenting other versions of ourselves online is potentially more helpful or harmful?
  • What are some of the issues that might come up if you make up information about yourself? e.g. your age?
  • What are some of the positive things about being online?
  • Are there any positive situations or experiences you’ve had that stand out for you?

4. Devices, sites and security

  • What are the different ways you access the internet? (e.g. on your phone, parent’s iPad, home computer)
  • Do you have your own device? What are these devices (e.g. phone, laptop)?
  • Do you let other people use your device/s? If so, in what situations does this happen?
  • Do you share your passwords/codes with others? When might you do this?
  • Do you use others’ devices/their passwords at times?
  • Are there any potential risks in sharing passwords or devices?
  • Have you experienced any issues if you have shared devices/passwords?
  • Do you change your passwords from time to time?
  • Do you use different passwords for different sites/apps?
  • How do you make up passwords? How do you remember them? Are there potential issues with this way?
  • How many ways can you think of to help secure your device and your information?
  • What are some of the tools you can use on some of the sites you use, that help you to:
    • keep your information private
    • select who can see your information or content
    • edit or remove content
    • get support if someone or something is creating harm or concern
    • choose who you want to connect with
    • change passwords or details about you
    • stop others knowing where your real-time location is
    • close an account or deactivate/put it on hold for awhile

5. Privacy and trust

  • What do you think privacy means?
  • Compare the personal information you share online with your offline sharing. Are there differences and if so, are these potentially positive or problematic? Why might this be so?
  • Is privacy important?
  • Is privacy the same thing online as offline? Why/why not?
  • Compare the personal information you share online with your offline sharing. Are there differences and if so, are these potentially positive or problematic? Why might this be so?
  • What does it mean to trust? How do we develop trust?
  • Who are some of the people you trust and why? How would you rate your own trustworthiness?
  • Is trust online the same as trust offline? Why/why not?
  • Are there any strategies/ ways you use to check if others really are who they say they are?
  • What does feeling safe mean to you?
  • Do you know what to do if someone acts in a way you don’t like when offline?
  • Is it the same when you’re online – why/why not? Are there things you can do to make it safer?
  • What are your thoughts about posting or sharing content/photos/videos with other people in them when they don’t know, or haven’t said it’s OK to share?

6. Empathy and positive action online

  • What do you think a ‘digital citizen’ is?
  • How important do you think empathy, upstanding, and kindness are online?
  • What kind of values and behaviors do you think people should have online?
  • What are some of the barriers to standing up for others online when you see someone being bullied or picked on? And what are some other strategies that can still make a difference to the situation, but not put you in potential harm’s way?
  • What ideas can you come up with that might help promote a more positive culture online?
  • Who else, or what else needs to be involved in supporting a culture of kindness online?
  • Who are the people that you can go to for support if you experience concerns or harm online? (e.g. being bullied or threatened, or seeing someone else being bullied or threatened)
  • Do you know of any organisations, or NZ laws that help to support people to have safe experiences online, or provide help for people experiencing online harm from things like bullying?
  • What ideas/initiatives could your school do to promote a positive online culture for all?
  • How can you progress these ideas into becoming realities?

What’s Next?

  • Check out our suggested classroom resources for planning your classroom or school sessions.