Optus Digital Thumbprint Program

On Thursday the 5th of December, Year 9 participated in the Optus Digital Thumbprint Program. This program educated students on the significance of being safe, responsible and a positive influence online. This workshop allowed Year 9 to interact with each other through the two main topics discussed, digital discernment and influence. 

In the first half of the program, we learnt about digital discernment. Digital discernment covered the points of the difference between real and fake news. In this workshop, students were given different types of news articles that spread around the media and needed to consider many aspects to identify if the news article was real or fake. These aspects included the site that it came from, the author of the article and the information presented. This taught the students that not everything shared on the media is real and that fake news can have a lasting effect on somebody’s thoughts and lifestyle. This was unpacked through a variety of authentic anecdotes. The purpose of the first half of the workshop was to explain the idea that the media has the power to change society’s perception of different topics presented and to explore how that can affect individuals and society as a whole. 

The second part of the workshop consisted of information regarding influence. Year 9 gained further understanding on this topic through a visual aid of a cyberbullying situation where the students were asked to make certain decisions about how to handle the situation. This educated the students in understanding that one kind message to the victim, asking if they are okay, can have a positive influence on their lives and possibly even stop them from seeking action in a negative way against the bullies. Year 9 also learnt that their influence does not have to be on a large spectrum, as any kind of positive influence can have a beneficial impact. The second half of the program allowed students to unpack more about the significance of influence in the media, which they did through discussing issues around cyberbullying. 

Overall, the Optus Digital Thumbprint Program taught Year 9 the importance of distinguishing the difference between real and fake news and the lasting effect that fake news can have on an individual and/or society and the importance of positive influence in the media. Year 9 are extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to increase their knowledge on different aspects of the media and thank you Optus for sponsoring such an insightful incursion. 


Alana Hlorotiris and Rachel Tannous – Year 9