Recently, I spoke with a technology coordinator who
had just completed a month-long Internet Safety unit for fifth
graders. Here is what
she had to say about her students and the lessons learned. “I
think the most interesting thing is how stunned I was with how much
our students are already experiencing the Internet, e-mail, chat
rooms, etc. Not all of the students, but at least half of them by
fifth grade have experienced all of those things, and two-thirds
of them have experienced some of them. They also demonstrated a very
healthy level of fear and I could tell that at this age they were
all ears. That was another reason that I felt totally encouraged
about adding it to our curriculum, because I know in a couple of
years many of them will think they "know it all" and won't
be so attentive.”
Keeping Safe in Cyberspace
Internet has changed the way students learn and communicate.
With the click of a mouse they can instantly message one another,
together on projects, download all kinds of multimedia files,
and post to blogs, Websites, and RSS feeds. Access to people and
enhances instruction, but what happens when the "dark side
of the Internet" sneaks around the corner and into the classroom
or home? You have seen the stories on television about chat rooms,
read about incidents in the newspaper where kids have been lured
to meet strangers, and read the research in magazines about social
networking and cyber bullying (See the articles from Multimedia
and Internet @Schools magazine, Social Networking: A New Tech
Tool and a New Security Concern for Teens and Schools May/June
2006 and Social Networking, Part 2: A Toolkit for Teachers July/August
2006). Keeping kids safe must be an ongoing effort through awareness,
education and supervision. Consider implementing an Internet
Safety program in your school or community.
The top three
safety solutions in 'Keeping Kids Safe in the World of Technology'
are Education, Supervision, and Software." (Uhrenholt, Linda.
(1998). Keeping Kids Safe!)
Many sites appear
to be good on the surface until you hit a link that goes somewhere
you don't want your students to visit. Organizations like the Internet
Content Rating Association and SafeSurf have developed rating systems
as a means to keep the Internet safe for kids and parents. However,
very few sites are using these rating systems.
Content Rating Association
ICRA, a non-profit
organization, allows content providers to add a free rating label
to their Website by filling out a questionnaire based on the Platform
for Internet Content Selection (PICS). For an additional fee, the
site is checked and added to a database as an ICRA trusted site.
Parents can use the free ICRAplus (Windows only) with other filtering
software to screen sites based on this rating system.
the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) that allows
parents to set passwords and levels for their children. The SafeSurf
Rating Standard gives content providers the ability to rate their
Website and place Metadata into their pages. PICS compliant software
then reads these settings to filter content.
like the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, and National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children have created Web sites for kids
and their parents. These sites include safety tips for kids about
what information they should not provide to strangers and suggestions
for parents when talking with their child.
Based on classic
Disney charaters, children learn valuable lessons about online
saftey. Fun for the whole family.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
curriculum designed for teachers and parents is presented in an
easy to use format. Lessons and activities are designated by topic
and grade level. Content covers appropriate use of the Internet,
property rights, ethics, and Website evaluation. A professional
development component provides educators with the opportunity to
participate in the Pathways to Literacy course ($349) and interact
with nationally known experts on the subject. CyberSmart also has
a computer desktop toolbar in the works that will provide continuous
access to research tools. This site is a great starting point for
teachers who want to construct a unit on Internet Safety.
Parents Guide to Internet Safety
The Parents Guide
to Internet Safety is a handbook published by the FBI. Included
in the publication are signs to look for that might indicate a
child is at risk on the Internet and what to do to minimize this
a public service brought to you by Internet industry corporations
and public interest organizations to help ensure that families
have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online
experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be
just "one click away" from the resources they need to
make informed decisions about their family's use of the Internet.
GetNetWise is a project of the Internet Education Foundation. Features
include a standard safety guide, parental tools, Websites for kids,
and contact information for state police, national advocacy groups,
and federal law enforcement authorities.
Watch the movie,
Faux Paw the Techno Cat and take a byte out of Internet crime.
View 5 tips in 5 Minutes - Protecting Your Kids Online with suggestions
from educators, parents, kids and law enforcement. Learn about
the Techno Cat program for schools or click on the D.A.R.E. button
for Internet Safety activities. Symantec also provides a tutorial
that illustrates how to check browser history and temporary files,
how to avoid spyware, and measures to take for computer security.
Safety for Kids
Outline of safety
tips for the Internet and other areas of kids' lives.
The Federal Trade
Commission created a Website for parents and kids to disseminate
information about government policies, privacy issues, and Internet
Safety. Although the site has not been revised since 2003, there
are many articles that remain current. They can be downloaded for
viewing or printing.
an educational resource for children, parents and teachers on how
to stay safer on the Internet. The NetSmartz Workshop features
age-appropriate, interactive games and activities that utilize
the latest web technologies to entertain while they educate. View
vignettes about real life experiences such as Cyberbullying, meeting
strangers, and peer-to-peer harassment. Watch clips hosted by Clicky,
Netty, and Webster who explain the dos and don’ts of the
Internet. Then, play games that reinforce the lessons. Netsmartz
is also rich with resources and links to other information that
supports a safe journey on the Internet.
ID Theft Faceoff,
Phishing Scams - Avoid the Bait, and Spam, Scam, Slam – Don’t
Be Fooled are examples of interactive modules that inform the user
about current Internet issues. Lots of practical tips will help
you guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect
your personal information.
Visit Larry Magid's
home page for articles about child safety on the Internet. Magid
is a syndicated journalist and author of Child Safety on the Information
Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway. Both are available
on the Website and from the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children. Other articles include Chat Room Safety, Cell Phone Safety,
and Blog Safety.
is a non-profit organization.On this website you will find a huge
amount of original materials and resources aimed at helping you
enjoy cyberspace safely.
is an online safety and help group that includes over 9000 volunteers
working in four areas. These areas include helping victims of cybercrime
and harassment, assisting law enforcement on preventing and investigating
cybercrime, and providing information about online safety, privacy
and security. Protecting children on the Internet by providing
educational material on awareness and prevention to parents, grandparents,
caregivers, community groups, law enforcement, school resource
officers, and students is their primary purpose. The site also
offers information literacy activities and resources to keep children
safe while using the Internet.