Chelsi's Educational Musings

Module #4 – Internet Safety

The question…

Given the huge issues regarding identity theft and internet security, what measures can be taken to ensure that you, your family and your students are safe and secure on the web?

My thoughts…

My first thought in response to this question was to make sure that your privacy settings on any online account are set according to your comfort level.  Being aware of the people and companies that have access to our information and images is extremely important in order to maintain security.  I also feel that we must very carefully consider who we are willing to trust online.  Often, it is better to err on the side of overly cautious, and sometimes it is simply better to keep personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, and social security numbers off of the internet.

In terms of keeping children safe, I feel that education is the key.  As my group discussed last night during our chat, to simply restrict the use of certain sites will not teach students anything.  I feel that to keep children safe on the internet, we must have them examine and critically think about the dangers that exist online.  This should not be done as a means of scaring them, but as a way of making them aware of internet safety and as a preventative measure.  Students receive fire safety and bicycle safety training sessions every year in school, and I feel that it would be extremely beneficial to provide students, and their parents, with internet safety training.  Simply teaching students how to use their privacy settings on accounts such as Facebook would be a great beginning point.  We could provide them with examples, such as having them examine what could happen if their Facebook status reads, “Going out of town for the weekend!” and their account is public, with their address and phone number in their information.  How simple would it be for an online predator to locate the child’s house and break in?  Discussions about online predators and how unfortunately common their acts have become would also be beneficial to students and their parents.  The RCMP website as well as this internet security web page provide some excellent information about online ploys and how to adults, teens, and children can be kept safe while still enjoying the internet.  Many children and teens are aware of the dangers of the internet.  Teaching them to prevent these dangers from occurring and how to safely navigate the internet will help them to stay safe.

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