After watching a youth safety presentation at a middle school yesterday (more info at, it was clear that teachers and students don't agree on what's interesting and educational in regards to online safety.

Is it possible to merge the needs and requirements of teachers but at the same time keep kids interested and educated on what's really important (to their savvy level)?

Tags: internet, kids, online, safety, teachers, versus, youth

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I think internet safety is something that MUST be addressed. In my experience, which is limited, schools teach students to use the technology but not how to use it safely. When I taught internet safety to my sophomore classes you would be amazed at how many students had never had a lesson on internet safety...then again I teach in southcentral Kansas. I used a few of the Think Before You Post videos and really emphasized how anyone could have a Facebook profile, even if they're a 60 year old pedophile. I used some of the online quizzes that were fairly basic, but students had no experience so it was very informative. I even contemplated creating a fake Facebook profile to see how many of my students would "friend" me.
I woukdn't do the fake Facebook---it could backfire and you'd end up without a job or in jail!! :)
I contemplated doing it but I didn't follow through. I would have gone through all of the proper channels, including parental permission and administrative approval. My thinking in doing this was to make the situation "real" and a true teachable moment.
I've been very surprised by some of the research I have come across concerning how kids use the internet these days, like Nancy's example.

I think one of the main issues is that kids think they know more about this than us, with the worst part being they are (mostly) right.

Good on you Greg for trying. The think before you post series can be an awesome tool. Here the link:
We just did had a 5th grader write rude things to his homeroom teacher via Study Island messaging using wingdings font. The Study Island filter picked it up, alerted us, and we cut and pasted the message into a word document and changed the wingding into a standard font.

As with everything else some people (both kids and adults) will listen and take advice and some will opt to learn the hard way.
I absolutely agree that we have to teach children internet safety.

I'm a lab teacher, and most of the of the digital skills I teach use internet safety, cyber bullying, password security, documentation, etc as a focal topic.

I think it's effective for the vast majority of the students....and then there's the small percentage who find trouble walking down an empty hallway.
Wow good example of how kids are savvy Dale.

The only concern I have with that last statement is in the fact that the Internet is much like a busy highway. We could just let kids 'learn the hard way' but why let a bunch of kids get hit when there has to be a way to stop them from not looking before they cross the road.

I think "indigo196" is on to something by saying internet safety education shouldn't be any different from gun safety or sex ed.

*apologies go to Indigo for my first post*
Good perceptive reading skills--I read right over it! Didn't want to impune your character. (is impune a word?) N/
My students (grades 3-5) have been researching, writing a blog and creating podcast about digital citizenship. Some the sites they have really enjoyed are iKeep Safe and NetSmartz The videos on these sites have really help make it real to my students and the discussions in class have been amazing. If you have a chance please stop by my students blog and support them We should have some podcast up by the end of next week. These projects have given them a purpose for their learning. On a side note, with these projects kids are covering so many academic skills outside of the digital citizenship knowledge ( reading , writing , critical thinking, technology skils). The kids are wanting to talk about digital citizenship, because it is so relevant for where they are.

Also, I just heard through the grapevine that our counties ITS department will be having a class this summer all around Digital Citizenship.
I agree. As with anything, students are engaged when things are personally relevant, and therefore real. I think that approach along with the presenter's/teacher's presentation skills, and a multimedia, interactive presentation would keep kids paying attention.

I really like your student blog idea - very integrative and allows students to use the Internet while talking about the Internet, making it far more engaging and participatory and most of all, applying and allowing them to synthesize what they are learning about internet safety. Awesome work!
Thank you so much for your kind feedback and the kids are now working on a series of podcast too. We are also working on a Jeopardy Game for Copyright. I am not expecting them to have the content memorized it is about knowing where to look and that this issues are there. Again, the conversations in class have been amazing. JIll Burdo an ADE from Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN said it well, "Digital Natives need to learn to be digital citizens." It is my hope through what we are doing in class that it will cause these students to question and think about the interactions in the Digital World.
Very nice. You've got interactive games going on as well! Your integrative and interactive approach I'm sure has them engaged, and that's important as it is more likely to stick in their memories for future reference as opposed to going through one ear and out the other.



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