Original Research

Securing the cybersafety of South African online high school learners beyond COVID-19

Baldreck Chipangura, Gustave Dtendjo-Ndjindja
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 18, No 1 | a1256 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v18i1.1256 | © 2022 Baldreck Chipangura, Gustave Dtendjo-Ndjindja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 June 2022 | Published: 19 December 2022

About the author(s)

Baldreck Chipangura, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Gustave Dtendjo-Ndjindja, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

The unprecedented online learning that took place at several schools during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is predicted to continue on the same trajectory when learners return to classroom learning. Continuing with online learning implies that learners will spend most of their time learning and socialising online, which exposes them to cybersecurity risks. Hence, this study investigated strategies for securing the cybersafety of online learners at South African high schools. The study adopted an interpretivist approach, and qualitative data were collected from school teachers. Fifteen school teachers from five private high schools in Centurion, Pretoria, were interviewed, and the data were thematically analysed. All the schools were multiracial and English-medium schools. The teachers from the schools were selected to participate in the study because they had experienced online learning during the times of COVID-19. The study proposed cybersafety strategies that are centred around providing cybersafety policies, conscientising learners about cybersecurity risks (awareness), preventing cyberbullying, discouraging the consumption or production of inappropriate content and protecting learners from Internet addiction.

Transdisciplinarity Contribution: The proposed practical strategies for securing the cybersafety of online learners are valuable for promoting safe and responsible use of Internet-connected devices in online learning. The strategies encourage schools to integrate Internet-connected technologies and overcome cybersecurity risks in online learning.


Keywords

online learning; COVID-19; cyberbullying; cybersafety; cybersecurity.

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