Teach children appropriate online behaviour, including information about cyber bullying.
Teach children appropriate online behaviour, including information about cyber bullying.

Online safety programme shortlisted at the GESS Education Awards

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Oct 1, 2021

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With the rapid use of the internet and social media, the possibility of potential harm that young people face increases daily. That is where MySocialLife comes in, a leading educator that teaches digital citizenship, digital life skills, online safety and social media awareness to students aged eight to 18. The company also teaches the student's parents, their teachers, and mental health professionals and school counsellors.

This South African online safety and digital life skills programme, MySociaLife, has been shortlisted as the 2021 ‘StartUp Company of the Year’ at the GESS Education Awards Dubai.

The announcement is a huge accomplishment for a South African education company, given the high profile of the event, based in the Middle East, one that attracts the highest calibre of educators from around the world.

“To make it to the final nine is truly exciting, especially in a category like this where it encompasses and welcomes all the players in our industry. Some great names have lit up this particular award in previous years,” explains Dean McCoubrey, MySociaLife founder.

“Where we are a little different from many school products and programmes is that we don’t just educate teens and pre-teens, we also teach the teachers, and the learners’ parents, as well as educational psychologists too. We deliver a unique four-dimensional approach to the education of online safety, media literacy and digital life skills. In our area of expertise, mentoring on topics like social media, gaming, and popular culture online, we believe the problem needs to be shared in order to be solved. Many kids have been struggling with mental health, sextortion, cyberbullying, and this has increased during the pandemic,” McCoubrey adds.

The awards highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people, as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession. The GESS Education Awards aim to encourage the raising of educational services and product standards throughout the industry and aims to be recognised throughout the sector as the accolade of excellence.

The awards are broken down into two sections: those for suppliers and distributors and those for teachers, schools and educational professionals. StartUp Company of the Year 2021 is one of the most sought after prizes of the event. The winners will be announced on November 15, 2021, at 6pm in the Talks Arena within GESS Dubai, and takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre.

“It’s been a tough year for schools, their teachers and the students, but programmes like ours were forced to reinvent ourselves from teaching in-person to teaching online and that has created real access to geographic areas and students we probably wouldn’t have reached. It also means we can grow across borders. We are in discussions with distributors in a number of countries at the moment. Personally, I think the real champions this year are South Africa’s school teachers. I think very few of us have any idea just how tough it’s been for them. I have seen some heroic commitment, but it comes at a cost. Some are feeling pretty exhausted. MySociaLife is particularly grateful for how they have adapted to new technologies in this pandemic to deliver quality education where possible,” McCoubrey concludes.

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