Monday, February 6, 2012

Internet Safety

Protect the EarthIt is never too early to think about Internet Safety and how we are helping kids stay safe online. The law in Illinois says that students must receive Internet Safety instruction at every grade level in grades 3-12, but saying that you have satisfied this mandate by teaching kids how to cite an online source in a research paper is not enough. It’s important to remember that our kids’ needs should drive what we do, not a curriculum guide or a textbook. And kids need guidance when it comes to staying safe.

Teaching Internet Safety doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day or out of your curriculum coverage. There are many activities – both online and paper/pencil, both whole-class and individual – that might take only 10-15 minutes every now and then to help reinforce the skills kids need. I’ve put together a number of these activities, organized by grade level clusters, here:

The Illinois State Board of Education has announced it’s 3rd Annual Illinois Youth Digital Safety Contest on its Internet Safety Web page.  This year’s theme is “Bystander Intervention.” Students can enter individually in groups of 2 or 3 in either the Poster or Electronic entry divisions at their grade level cluster (see the Web site for details). The goal is to highlight how kids and parents can support those who witness or are directly influence by cyber bullies or other online predators.

Please help your students be safe by teaching them the skills they need to respond appropriately to online threats, and encourage them participate in this year’s Internet Safety contest.

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