Sunday, April 5, 2009

Keeping Kids Safe Online

I was recently involved in facilitating online safety sessions for 9th graders followed by assisting a fellow teacher set up a moodle course about the cyber communication dangers (teachers as the audience).

In both cases the internet dangers were certainly highlighted. In my experience kids are going to be online and connected. To try to stop them would be futile and, well, pointless. Instead, here is what I would suggest... if fact, this is the approach I take with my own son.

1. Tools (internet, social networking sites) are NOT evil.
2. Not all people using these sites have good motives.
3. It is up to us, teachers/parents, to teach our children how to be safe online.
4. As teachers/parents we must monitor the internet activity of our children and make them aware that we are doing it.
5. Open dialog with children is important.

Here are some resources that I have found helpful:

http://www.isafe.org/

http://www.netsmartzkids.org/indexFL.htm
http://www.wiredsafety.org/

and there are many more.

Comments or other resources?

3 comments:

Chris said...

I think the scary thing that people are afraid to talk about is that the vast majority of inappropriate contact with children comes from a trusted adult the child already knows prior to the contact. But thinking about "stranger danger" is easier because no one wants to think about the real danger.

Should we focus on Internet dangers? Sure. But should they be 90% of what we focus on? Hmmm. Maybe its best to teach kids about good relationships, about how some adults (Internet OR neighbor) sadly fool kids into thinking they "care" about them when they really have ulterior motives.

tyost said...

I did a similar thing at my Jr/Sr High School when sexting was making big news. We had three presenters, the County District Attorney, our Assistant Principal, and myself. I would guess that we are all in the same age group in the mid 30's but I was the only one who had social networking exp, text messages of knew how to even use my cell phone camera.

The bulk of my presentation was the excellent Netsmartz program for high school. The videos added much more than I could say. My message had three points - make your site private, don't accept friends you don't know, when if they are good at Mafia Wars, and finally to find a friend or someone they trust to share any decisions they may be making with so if something should happen or go wrong help will be on the way.

Kids use these tools and need guidance, not a blind eye.

Albert said...

The Internet has grown rapidly and many parents are now concerned with their kids’ safety on the Internet. There have been steps that have been taken to make sure children are well protected against the vices found on the Internet but more still needs to be done.