Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HOW DO I HELP MY CHILD LEARN TO USE THE INTERNET WISELY?


This is a handout I worked with others to create to share with family members interested in internet safety. Innovative educators may be interested in modifying this to the needs of their school community and sharing it with family members as part of a welcome packet for the new school year.
HOW DO I HELP MY CHILD LEARN TO USE THE INTERNET WISELY?

Many parents would agree their children know a lot more about using the Internet than they do, but finding the right balance between making sure our children are prepared for a high-tech world and protecting them from potentially dangerous situations are top priorities. Our children live in a world where cyber bullying, online predators, and online threats of violence are only a keystroke away. Websites that children visit must be age appropriate and constantly monitored by parents for content.

The Department of Education is now offering a comprehensive K-12 Internet safety curriculum to schools and workshops for parents. You can ask your school's parent coordinator, librarian, or technology specialist if your school plans to use it. If they do not have plans but are interested in launching the curriculum, encourage them to contact the Office of Parent Engagement, School Library Services, or Office of Instructional Technology to arrange for Internet safety training for parents, teachers, and students at your school. In the meantime, here are some tips for keeping your child safe.

How can I supervise Internet use at home?
  • Set ground rules. For example, how much time can they spend online and during what hours? Make sure your children understand the rules and agree to follow them.
  • Discuss with your children what they did on the Internet, who they talked to, what they saw or learned. Be intimately involved in their online life.
  • Use the Internet to communicate to the Internet generation. Ask your questions and deliver your concerns and rule reminders using instant messaging, text messaging, and emails. Let the parental voice be present in the virtual world.
  • Make time to sit and watch your children’s Internet habits regularly so they know they are being monitored. Pay attention to suspicious communications and ask to see what they’re talking about.
  • Explain to your children the importance of not revealing personal information online including address, school, places they like to visit, photos, and age.
  • Know your children’s passwords. Let your children know that you will be checking what they are doing online.
  • Go online with your children to find safe, acceptable, interesting, fun, and appropriate uses of the Internet.
  • Talk with your children about the dangers that you’re trying to protect them from so they can use your reasoning to make smart choices when you’re not around.
  • Become familiar with the parental controls (such as blocking and filtering) available through your Internet Service Provider, but ensure your children are armed with the knowledge of how to use technology safely even without these controls
  • Read the Privacy Policy of any site that asks your children for personal information
Supervising Internet use at school
What are some possible signs of inappropriate Internet use?
  • Your child spends a lot of time online or in chat rooms, especially at night.
  • Your child is secretive about what he/she is looking at online and quickly changes the site when you enter the room.
  • You find pornography stored on the computer.
  • Your child makes or receives communication from people who you don’t know or screen names you don’t recognize.
  • Your child receives gifts or packages from people you don’t know.
  • Your child uses someone else’s e-mail account.
  • Your child seems upset or withdrawn, especially after Internet use or when you question him/her about online activities.
Cyber Safety Resources
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use http://www.cyberbully.org/
The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provides research and outreach services to address issues of the safe and responsible use of the Internet.
Crimes Against Children Research Center http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/
The mission of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners.
CyberSmart! http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/home/
This site offers a free student curriculum that empowers students to use the Internet safely, responsibly, and effectively.
Frontline: Growing Up Online
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/etc/synopsis.htmlFRONTLINE takes viewers inside the very public private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming childhood.GetNetWise http://getnetwise.org/
GetNetWise is a public service to help ensure that Internet users have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences. The goal is for users to be "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about Internet use.
i-Safe http://www.isafe.org/
i-SAFE, a leader in Internet safety education, is endorsed by the U.S. Congress and incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place.
Net Smartz http://www.netsmartz.org/
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) Internet safety website is geared toward parents, educators, law enforcement, teens, and kids.
Safe Kids http://www.safekids.com/child_safety.htm
This site provides advice for child safety on the Internet.

Additional Websites
For more internet safety resources and other useful information for innovative educators, visit my wiki at http://theinnovativeeducator.wikispaces.com/Internet+Safety+Resources.
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