Guidelines for Cyber Safety
The Donegal School District provides a learning environment that integrates today’s digital tools and encourages students to work collaboratively in team environments. Through initiatives like the District’s 1 to 1 initiative, and the use of the Internet, we can extent the learning environment far beyond the walls of our schools.
The Internet has drastically changed the way that children interact with the world. They have access to in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity, and people from all over the world. Yet along with offering a fascinating, new way to connect with the world, the Internet also offers new risks. The Internet is not the place for an all-access pass. Students of all ages need supervision.
Tips that can help keep your child safe online
- Spend time with your child on-line by having
them show you his/her favorite online destinations. At the same time, explain 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 & seize control of each other’s online accounts.
- Instruct your child that the computer is to be used in a common area of the house, not in their bedroom. It is much more difficult for children to fall prey to predators when the computer screen is actively being watched by others.
- Parental involvement is key. Even though the school provides remote content filtering on the District computer, it may not block all objectionable material. With new websites being created every day, there is no way to guaranty that all objectionable content will be filtered. Do not rely solely on the content filter to protect your child. There is no substitute for parental monitoring.
- Always maintain access to your child’s social networking and other on-line accounts. Check these accounts frequently. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why. Tell your child that protecting him or her is your job as a parent.
- Teach your child the responsible use of on-line resources. Instruct your child to:
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.
- Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know.
- 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.
- Never download pictures from an unknown source, as the site could include sexually explicit images.
- Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.
- 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 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, such as YouTube, 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 own 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. He should ask himself, “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."
Ghezzi, P. (n.d.). Internet Safety Tips for Parents.
Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/807-internet-safety-tips-for-parents
Luttrell, S. (n.d.). What Kids Do Online. Retrieved March 11,
2015, from http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10649-what-kids-do-online
Luttrell, S. (n.d.). 8 Steps to Peace of Mind Online. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10644-8-steps-to-peace-of-mind-online