About the conference

The Jesuit Institute has partnered with the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) to host a seminar on Digital Pathfinding. Both the Institute and CIE have heard, in their respective spheres, that many schools and parents are struggling to keep up with the pace at which online life is affecting more and more young people. The common response we hear is: “we just don’t know what to do about this phenomenon”.

The seminar takes place 13-14 September 2018 at the Sierra Hotel in Randburg. A number of issues will be discussed and a wide range of professionals will offer inputs on these and other topics: child psychology and what studies are showing about screen time and online bullying, current South African law, law enforcement, digital policy development, what online software developers can do to help and a peer-to-peer programme will be made available. There will be time for interaction and conversation on issues such as best practices.

The seminar is relevant for all teachers (not just IT teachers), principals and SMTs, parents, therapists, school lawyers, school board members and anyone else interested in safeguarding children.

Talking at the opening of the Child Dignity Conference in Rome in October 2017, Baroness Joanna Shields, the first UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security, asked the question: “Years from now, when history writes the chapter entitled ‘the digital age’, will it celebrate the immense benefits that technology has delivered and the great human progress that followed? Or, will it be a requiem of regret for a childhood lost?”

She went on to say “As it stands today my fear is that history will judge us harshly unless we act now. The next generations will rightly ask why we didn’t do more. Why we didn’t act decisively. Why we waited so long before coming together to find solutions. But this is not a time to despair. We have within our grasp the opportunity to shape the future and we must act.”

It has become clear that scare-tactics are not working, and many young people are taking risks on social media, risks that could be dangerous. But social media is also changing the way that young people interact, live and think. Our approach is not one that simply speaks about the dangers of social media. We believe that while this has some part to play in the formation of young people, what we really need is to be able to help young people live with integrity in the digital world. We believe that, together, we have to work on “digital pathfinding” as technology continues to change and mould our world. The digital world is here to stay, how can we form young people to live authentic lives in the digital space? How do we help young people, in age-appropriate ways, to live with integrity in the digital world?

This seminar is initially aimed at educators – but anyone is welcome to attend. We have found, in our work, that educators struggle most to navigate this complex new world with young people. We hope that this seminar will equip schools with some additional strategies on how to deal with the many challenges that they encounter.

Some Catholic Schools in the USA are already attempting to minimize screen time – as spotlight.africa reports.

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Date and Venue

Johannesburg, South Africa
13-14 September 2018 at the Sierra Hotel, Randburg

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Invited Speakers

Emilar Gandhi is Facebook’s public policy manager for the SADC Region. Her current portfolio of policy issues includes safety and security, privacy, internet shutdowns, freedom of expression, regulation and public sector use of social media. Before joining Facebook, Emilar was Africa policy coordinator for the Association for Progressive Communications, where she led ICT public policy issues on the African continent focusing on human rights, technology and internet governance.
Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda is the Public Policy Manager at Google South Africa. He has previously worked for Highway Africa, the Gender and Media Network for Southern Africa (GEMSA) and the Open Society Foundation for SouthAfrica (OSF-SA). His areas of interests include ICTs, new media, chess, football and road running. He is a Rhodes University Alumnus, where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Over the past five years, Fortune has lead a government, private sector and civil society public campaign to make cyberspace a safer environment for young Internet users in Africa.
Prof Tanya Robinson has been in forensic private practice for the past twenty years. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Tacmin Rafiki. She has run her own charity foundation for the last fifteen years and is also the proud Ambassador of the Teddy Bear Foundation.,She has published nine books on the subject matter relating to child maltreatment and neglect and forensic investigation. For twenty consecutive years Prof Robinson has been a registered university student. She has obtained degrees in social work, psychology and sociology, education, forensic studies and criminal justice. Prof Robinson did a ground breaking study on reporting false child sexual abuse allegations and graduated with her third doctoral degree in 2015 from the University of Cape Town. In 2016, Dr Robinson was awarded with the 2016 Research Excellence Award for her contribution to society and for her devotion to research. She is currently enrolled at the University of South Africa for a PhD in Criminal Justice exploring the ethical responsibility of expert witnesses in cases concerning violent crimes committed against children. Prof Robinson is a Research Fellow in the College of Law, Department of Police Practice.
Fr Hugh Lagan is a clinical psychologist. He completed his graduate studies in counselling and clinical psychology in Boston and completed a two-year post-doctoral internship at Saint Luke Institute, USA. His research and clinical work focuses on cultural dimensions in the mental health treatment of clergy and religious, as well as sex offender risk assessment. Fr Hugh will present the multiple opportunities and vulnerabilities of digital technology use by children and youths. The presentation will also address the current risks of child exploitation through everyday social media and technology use. The content will be current, practical and solution-focused.
Prof Justine Limpitlaw is an independent communications law consultant who specialises in broadcasting, media, telecommunications, and space and satellite law. Her broadcasting-related experience includes work for a number of South Africa’s leading broadcasting and service providers — commercial, public and community. Limpitlaw has extensive experience in broadcasting licensing processes, including digital terrestrial television (DTT) and satellite television service Limpitlaw is also an expert in drafting legislation, regulations and policies for broadcasting — including codes of conduct for broadcasters and model broadcasting laws — and has extensive experience in competition, local content, and independent television production matters. Limpitlaw isthe author of two two-volume books published by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Media Law Handbook for Southern Africa and the Media Law Handbook for Eastern Africa, all of which include extensive analysis of broadcasting and online regulatory environments.
Anthony Egbers, after completing an Honours in Educational Management, became inspired by the opportunities that technology offers schools, in terms of communication with parents and students, the ability to inspire students, the simplicity of EdTech and how students interact with it and, most importantly, the endless horizons that EdTech offers every child and teacher. As Director of Technology at Dainfern College, he has had the opportunity to run a BYOD programme over the past four years. He is a firm believer in the opportunities that technology provides teachers in terms of personal development and classroom opportunities.
Web Rangers In South Africa, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is responsible for the implementation of the Web Rangers programme. Web Rangers is a digital literacy programme designed to allow young people to gain critical skills and knowledge around online safety that they use to create innovative campaigns that promote safe internet usage and champion their rights in the digital world. The programme is about creating young digital citizens who know how to use the internet responsibly and encourage their peers to do the same. The Web Rangers’ programme puts the spotlight on young people and recognises them as key players in their safety in the digital world – Which makes it an exciting and unique project lead by young people for young people. It is an initiative that closes the gap between access to the internet and digital literacy, through a coordinated strategy to increase youth awareness and their capabilities when it comes to online safety and digital literacy. The Web Rangers programme, therefore, offers selected South African schools a unique opportunity to become champions of critical digital literacy skills necessary to navigate the complex and dynamic life of the 21st century.


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 To register for the seminar, click here.

Bookings and payments for accommodation can be made directly with the hotel (Sierra Hotel in Randburg).

For further information contact Kelsay Corrêa (Communications Manager) at CIE. Office 011 433 1888 ext 108 and website www.cie.org.za

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