The District strives to provide a learning environment that integrates today’s digital tools, accommodates mobile lifestyles, and encourages students to work collaboratively in team environments. Through providing this learning environment, we will meet these demands which will allow students to manage their learning at any time and any location. However, the Internet is not the place for an all-access pass. Students of all ages need supervision. Below are a few tips that can help keep your child safe online.
- You should spend time with your child online by having them show you his/her favorite online destinations. At the same time, explain what about online dangers. Make sure your child keeps passwords secret from everyone (except you). Even best friends have been known to turn against one another and seize control of each other’s online accounts.
- Instruct your child that the computer is to be used in a common open room in the house, not in their bedroom. It is much more difficult for children to fall prey to predators when others are actively watching the computer screen.
- If you can, utilize additional content filters at the modem/router level. Content filters are not 100% failsafe. Do not rely on the content filter to protect your child.
- Always maintain access to your child’s social networking and other online accounts and randomly check his/her email. Be transparent with your child about your access and reasons why. Tell him or her that protecting them is your job as a parent.
- Teach your child the responsible use of the resources online. Instruct your child:
- To never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online;
- To never post pictures of themselves on the Internet or online service to those they don’t personally know;
- To never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number. Teach your child to be generic and anonymous on the Internet. If a site encourages kids to submit their names to personalize the web content, help your child create online nicknames that do not give away personal information;
- To never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;
- To never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, or harassing; and that whatever they are told online may or may not be true.
- Set clear expectations for your child. Does your child have a list of websites that he/she needs to stick with when doing research? Is your child allowed to use a search engine to find appropriate sites? What sites is your child allowed to visit just for fun? Write down the rules and make sure that he/she knows them.
- Stay involved with your child’s school by remaining in close contact with your child’s teachers and counselors. If trouble is brewing among students online, it may affect the school. Knowing what’s going on at school will increase the chances that you’ll hear about what’s happening online.
- Tell your child that people who introduce themselves on the Internet are often not who they say they are. Show your child how easy it is to assume another identity online. Don’t assume your child knows everything about the Internet.
- Video-sharing sites are incredibly popular with children. Children log on to see the funny homemade video the other children are talking about; to watch their favorite soccer player score a winning goal; even to learn how to tie a slip knot. With a free account, users can also create and post their videos and give and receive feedback. With access to millions of videos comes the risk that your child will stumble upon something disturbing or inappropriate. YouTube has a policy against sexually explicit content and hate speech, but it relies on users to flag content as objectionable. Sit down with your child when they log onto video-sharing sites so you can guide their choices. Tell them that if you’re not with them and they see something upsetting, they should get you.
- Remind your child to stop and consider the consequences before sending or posting anything online. They should ask themselves, “Would I want my parents, my principal, my teacher, and my grandparents to see this?” If the answer is no, then they shouldn’t send it.
- Learn to use privacy settings. Social networking sites, instant messaging programs, even some online games offer ways to control who your child can chat with online or what they can say to each other. Visit the sites where your child goes and look for the sections marked “parents,” “privacy,” or “safety.”
- As a parent, it might be appropriate to log onto your child’s device to see privacy settings, accounts, and online activity to help drive these privacy conversations.