Sunday, January 31, 2010

Internet Safety

Internet Safety and responsible use of technology will always be a hot topic in schools. Internet predators are not going away, and it seems that "stranger danger" is not the only dark side of technology. Kids are commonly the perpetrators of harm, against others as well as themselves, thanks to Cyberbullying and Sexting.
  • One in five U.S. teenagers received unwanted sexual solicitations online (Crimes Against Children Research Center).
  • Cyberbullying has touched three-fourths of American teenagers according to a 2008 UCLA survey.
  • 20% of teenagers have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves and 39% of teens had sent or posted sexually suggestive messages (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy). 

It's unfortunate, but as with so many things in life, we must take the good with the bad., but we don't have to take it lying down. So this week, as I kick off my Internet safety lessons with my students, I thought I'd share some of my favorite sites and resources.

WebWiseKids
WebWiseKids is a company that's created a series of games designed to teach kids how to keep themselves safe. They have several different games focused on online predators, Internet crimes, sexting, cyberbullying, academic cheating, etc. I have used the Missing game with my students for two years and have found it to be in effective tool for teaching my kids how to recognize and avoid online predators. My students have responded well to this program, enjoy using it, and learn a lot from it.

CyberSmart!
CyberSmart provides curriculum for teachers to use with students grades K-12. Lessons are organized by age group or topic and best of all, they are free! I have used their middle school curriculum extensively and find it to be quite good.

NetSmartz
NetSmartz has great multimedia Internet safety presentations that can be downloaded for free. They have presentations designed for parents, "tweens", and younger students as well. They also offer a variety of supplemental material that can be downloaded or printed.

i-Safe
i-Safe provides curriculum for educators as well, however, your school or district must purchase one of three subscription packages to use it. i-Safe curriculum is very thorough,but it is not something you can pick up and teach from with little prep. It is not my favorite resource simply because it is not terribly "user-friendly", but it is a good resource, none-the-less.

iKeepSafe.org
This site provides a variety of resources geared for kids, parents, and educators. The resources for educators are geared towards elementary kids, with cute pdf books and worksheets as well as coloring book pages about Internet safety.

Internet101
This site provides a series of videos on Internet safety as well as additional materials that you can download or print out to use with your Internet safety program.

InternetSafety101
InternetSafety101 is a site filled with definitions, statistics, and videos on various topics in Internet Safety. This is a good resource for both educators and parents.

ProtectKids.com
This site is put together by the same company as the one above (Enough is Enough). It also provides a great resource for definitions and tips for parents.

YouDiligence
YouDiligence is a tool more for parents than for educators, but is worth mentioning. It allows parents to monitor their children's social-networking without invading their privacy. YouDiligence searches for designated words in a child's profile and emails parents if any are found.

If you've found any other great resources on Internet safety, particularly any that offer curriculum, let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks.
    I think VH had some free programs that helped limit web browsing to safe sites he sent out out a long time ago?

    ReplyDelete