Thursday, April 10, 2008

States Mandate Teaching Internet Safety

Illinois, Texas, and Virginia have passed legislator regarding the teaching of Internet safety. In Virginia, teaching Internet safety is now a mandatory part of the curriculum.

In these states, lessons are prepared at all grade levels, K-12, to teach about Internet safety. Topics covered include the dangers of Internet predators, the risks of sharing personal information online, and permanence of what might be posted on the Internet.

Other states are requiring similar curriculum initiatives. Curricular kits have been put together for schools by such companies as Verizon and Symantec.

Do you believe it is the school’s role to teach students about Internet safety? If so, how do you propose the matter be handled? Who should do the teaching and how?

See this Education Week article for more details:
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Sharon Kirby said...

I am not sure if it should be a state mandate because it is uncommon to see a state mandate schools to teach students about such a topic. ALthough I think it would only make sense. WE are now in the Internet age, therefore we should teach our students how to be safe using the Internet. We teach our students about emergency procedures, how to stop, drop, and roll when they catch fire, etc. Shouldn't we teach them about the dangers that are possible through the Internet. If I had a child, I would request that the school teach such important life long lessons. Students are not aware about what kind of psychos are out there. The Internet has made it very easy for those crazy people to come into the lives of our children. We must warn them about what is out there. I was so ignorant about who you could meet in the chat rooms when the Internet first came out. I can remember going on AIM and talking to complete strangers and then meeting them at the mall. Thank god nothing ever happened to me or my friends...but we didn't know any better because it was a new way of communicating with people and I just assumed they were kids just like me and my friends. The world has change so drastically. Just even googling something innocent will get you videos and pictures of porn and naked ladies. There is no way to control what comes up on the Internet. It bothers me because essentially I could get fired if my students by accident while researching material for my class run into a porn site or something along those lines. The schools have filters but website makers are trying all the tricks they can in order to bypass all those filters and get into the lifes of our students. Its a crazy world out there.

gayle said...

I disagree, I think states should definitely mandate the teaching of internet safety. How else are children going to learn of the dangers of the internet? We can not rely on parents to teach their children. There are many children in this world who lack parental support. It is the responsiblity of the schoools to make students aware of what lurks on the internet and how to use it safely. The new curriculum could be part of health class or incoporated into students learning the basics at the computer lab. I know we have a jam packed day and finding time to teach another thing may be difficult. However, when it comes to teaching children to be safe, I think it is important to find 10 minutes or so to make students aware.

barbara jarosz said...

I agree that mandating teaching internet safety is a good idea. My school already does a school-wide presentation that all students see regarding how to be safe on the Internet. The presentation has in the past been taught by our guidance counselors, but just recently, our school has hired outside consultants to run the presentations. They are fabulous and students definitely walk away knowing how to use the Internet safely.

The presentations give students a chance to listen to a local policeman who has had a lot of experience with this issue. He discusses the common misconceptions that teens have today regarding Internet use. What students should and should not post, how to post a safe profile, and when to tell parents about something fishy.

In my experience, most middle school students walk into this presentation like they know everything and that they don't need "anlother Internet Safety lecture". But by the end of the presentation, you can sense from the Q and A session that students have truly learned something. I don't think that mandating such a lesson is a bad idea. Students can only benefit from this lesson, and this is probably one of the most important topics today that we need to find room in the curriculum for.

Margaret H. said...

I guess I feel that we should teach internet safety to our students. How do we expect them to learn that if we don’t teach them? I feel as a teacher we need to teach our students everything they need to know to be successful and responsible in life. We cannot expect their parents to teach them all of these ideas so we as educators need to fill in the gaps. In addition, the state keeps adding more and more ideas of what we need to teach to our students why not add something else?
At the same time, our society is changing so much when dealing with the internet that we need to make sure our students are aware and cautious when they are using the internet. How many times have people heard teenage children being kidnapped by someone they meet online? It is sad to say but those people are out there and we need to make sure our children know not to go after them. I don’t want them to learn by experience so that means we need to teach them.

aaron Brown said...

My weakness is seeing both sides of an issue and agreeing simulaneously with them. Is it my job as a teacher to help the students become good citizens and successful adults? Yes. Does this include keeping them safe? Yes. But, at what point do we say, enough, we aren't their parents. I wonder, if we continue to add all these itmes to the hidden curriculum, what happens to teh original curriculum. People talk about the decline of the educational system. If we continue to accept what were once parental obligations, can we defend ourselves when we are criticized for failing the kids? I teach physics. I have no problem with hidden curriculum topics, and I enjoy teaching them most of the time. But, when is enough enough? Wow, I seem pretty cold hearted with this one.

gayle said...

I see your point Aaron, but for me I have become a temporary parent for some of my students who lack parental support. My students lack common knowledge and need to be taught the basics. I've had parents ask me to teach about the dangers of talking with strangers! I guess I am more than just a teacher to my students. I feel obligated to teach more than just the curriculum if I want my students to become successful in school and in the real world!

Lisa T. said...

Everyone has made excellent and valid points! I think that if we are required to teach kids computer technology skills, it would only make sense to include topics about the internet. We can't always assume that parents will teach their kids, as mentioned on different discussion threads, the majority of kids today know more about computing than their parents.

Jamie Sacharko said...

I'm just practice responding.

Meg Howard said...

I completely agree with Gayle on this topic. Although our curriculm is jam packed it is important to inform children of the hidden dangers that exsist through the use of the internet. We teach our youngsters about stanger danger. Is this really any different?

Mary Ann Oszurek said...

I agree that the state should mandate the teaching of Internet safety. The school I work at has tried to include an Internet safety curriculum but it didn't amount to anything. The program was supposed to be included in our the health curriculum but with all the other items already part of the program there was not enough time to include Internet safety. As the school year went on the Internet program vanished as many items tend to do. I work at the middle school level and I have found the students at this age really need to learn about social skills. Students have a hard time interacting with one another and they tend to hide behind the internet to communicate with people. Unfortunately, some students really think that bad things are not going to happen to them. Through an effective Internet program taught in schools maybe they will realize what is out there. I have also found that students at this age are less likely to listen to advice from their parents which leaves school the only place they will learn valuable information. Today's schools need to make time to teach the basics of Internet safety in order to protect the children from potential risks.

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