As the district continues to move forward with a virtual learning platform, it has become more apparent that helping children be safe, confident explorers of the internet world can be a daunting task.
The Internet can be wonderful for kids. In many cases they are using it to attend school, research school reports, complete assignments, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. But online access also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. Using apps and websites where kids interact, predators may pose as a child or teen looking to make a new friend. They might prod the child to exchange personal information, such as address and phone number, or encourage kids to call them, seeing their phone number via caller ID.
Parents should be aware of what their children see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves. Talk with your children, use tools to protect them, and keep an eye on their activities. (kidshealth.org).
More important than blocking objectionable material is teaching your children safe and responsible online behavior, and keeping an eye on their Internet use.
Some of the basic guidelines for children outlined by kidshealth.org to share with your kids for safe online use:
- Follow the family rules, and those set by the Internet service provider.
- Never post or trade personal pictures.
- Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location.
- Use only a screen name and don’t share passwords (other than with parents).
- Never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.
- Never respond to a threatening email, message, post, or text.
- Always tell a parent or other trusted adult about any communication or conversation that was scary or hurtful.
- Basic guidelines for parental supervision:
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Keep the computer in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in individual bedrooms. Monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets.
- Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.
- Check your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange
To make the most of the Internet, students need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome also teaches children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. (click on the link for additional information about the Google program).