Internet safety is one of those things that is always evolving. If you are old enough, think back to the mid to late 1990s. Internet safety was hardly a thought. It was an effort to get on the net, and things moved at a snail’s pace compared to today. Now, our kids are connected almost everywhere they go. They need to have the knowledge and tools to deal with this new found freedom. NetSmartz, a program of the National Council for Missing and Exploited Children, is a great resource.
NetSmartz is an online repository of lessons, tools, videos, and more to help adults educate kids about internet safety. I recently took the online course on teaching digital citizenship. Granted, digital citizenship was something I was already familiar with, but I found the course informational and relevant.
There are videos appropriate for different age groups that help teach the concepts of internet safety. Take a look at THIS ONE about being safe using instant messaging software. It is obviously intended for younger audiences. It teaches a valuable lesson, but wouldn’t really work for older kids. They would see it as silly. Now, look at THIS ONE, one intended for older audiences. This one teaches teens that what you send to someone electronically needs to be thought about very carefully before hand. This one would not be appropriate for younger kids.
NetSmartz has sections of resources for many aspects of internet safety. Cyberbullying is another one they have that parents and teachers tend to lack awareness of. As NetSmartz points out, bullying has been around for ages… but cyberbullying takes it to a new level. It allows the bully to continue the aggression even when not around the victim. One of the most important things NetSmartz provides parents and teachers is a list of signs that your child may be being bullied, and what we can do about it.
There are a lot of resources out there that deal with internet safety. As I transition into a slightly different role at school, I have been on the lookout for resources to teach these concepts. I have found NetSmartz to be a good one. If you are looking for a way to teach yourself and your kids about internet safety, give NetSmartz a try. It’s free, sponsored by Disney’s Club Penguin.