Keeping Students Safe in a Digital World

We may think of our kids’ online, mobile, and technological activities as “digital life,” but to them it’s just life. In their world, being able to connect and communicate 24/7 from just about any location is normal. Phones aren’t simply for phone calls anymore but for listening to music, sending texts, filming videos, snapping and sharing photos, and accessing the Internet. Our kids are using computers and tablets to socialize, stream video, and create movies and songs. And they can connect and communicate 24/7 from just about any location.

 

Why Does Cyber Safety Matter?

We want our students to make good decisions so they can take advantage of the powerful technology that fills their lives both at school and at home. But in order to make good choices, kids must know how the digital world works. The stakes are high because our kids’ technological abilities can be greater than their maturity and judgment. Having unrestricted access to information and people can result in gaining a wealth of information and experiences. But it can also mean accessing inappropriate content and exposure to risks such as:

 

Tips parents can use at home:

The best way to keep our students safe in the digital world is to model positive digital behavior with your children or students as much as possible: set a good example. In addition, here are a few tips that parents can use at home.

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
  • Create a family media agreement.
  • Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so be sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
  • Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
  • Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids two years of age and younger be completely screen-free. All other children should get no more than two hours a day. By comparison, a report from market research firm Childwise shows that children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours in front of a screen.