For this post I chose to take a look at the "Safe Passage" Web Awareness link. I found the presentation to be very informative and think that the information presented can be very helpful for both teachers and parents alike in their quest to keep their children safe online. The presentation deals with a lot of numerical data involving almost 5300 Canadian students in grades 4-11. I have to admit that some of the information I did find quite surprising, such as the percentage of students in survey who give their real name and address in an instant messaging profile (29%) or pretend to be someone they are not (59%). Although this number may not seem high to some, I personally would like to see much lower numbers.
I am very much aware that students use technology much more now than they did when I was in elementary/secondary school. Many children become comfortable using the computer at a very young age and thus once they hit their elementary and secondary years they often know a great deal more than their teachers. That being said, I also think that one too many students have way too nonchalant an attitude about the time they spend on the computer and the problems they may potentially encounter (i.e. cyber bullying, child predators, etc.) On the whole I found this presentation very effective in discussing such issues and offering adults information on how to understand the computer needs and wants of the children in their lives. Our ultimate goal is definitely to keep our children safe and out of harms way, but in the world of cyberspace this is definitely not an easy task.
An excellent point brought up in this presentation is for adults to use the same internet environments as their children to see how they work. I definitely agree that the more familiar you are with the sites your child visits, the more informed you will be and if your child becomes involved in inappropriate online activities you will be that much more prepared to help them. This process will probably be much easier with younger students who will be more willing to share information with you, than with your teenage student/son/daughter who may not be so willing to divulge the sites they visit, or social networking sites they frequent. The bottom line for me after viewing this presentation definitely is that internet safety should be taught to children starting with the first time they log onto the internet. Whether it be in school or at home, we as adults share the responsibility of educating our children how to be safe online, teaching them what is acceptable and what isn't, as well as offering warnings of potential dangers.