Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 10 - Internet Safety

This week we are looking at the issue of internet safety and how to best teach kids to be responsible digital citizens. Our assignment is to create a presentation for any audience we choose related to internet security. In doing some of my initial research, one thing that struck me was how early we need to be having these conversations (a 2013 study by Common Sense Media showed that 72% of children under age 8 have used a mobile device to view some type of media, compared to 38% only 2 years earlier. Crazy!).

With my own 5 year old starting kindergarten in the fall, I wanted to explore this further with my assignment and put together a presentation that could be used at her preschool. She is definitely part of the 72%, as she has access to the family iPad and occasionally our phones, but so far she hasn't figured how to buy apps, or necessarily what the internet is (though she does know that the PBS Kids app needs internet access in order to work). But it's only a matter of time, and I now realize I need to be proactively thinking of how to start this education with her.

In no particular order, I have included some of the best sources I found while doing research for my presentation:
  • Always connected: The new digital media habits of young children - Although published in 2011 (so likely the trends stated have only amplified), this is a nice overview of how active young children are online, and underscores the need for parents and educators to proactively have discussions with children about internet safety and protecting their privacy online  
  • BrainPOPJr. – Internet Safety with Annie and Moby - Produced by BrainPOP, a creator of animated content for use across the educational spectrum, this video does a nice job of simplifying the concept of Internet Safety for very young viewers (K-3). In addition to the video, the module includes complementary materials including quizzes, a drawing activity, supplementary reading options, among others.   
  • Wild About Safety with Timon and Pumbaa: Safety Smart Online - Produced by Disney Educational Productions, this is one video in a series educating young children on various aspects of being "Safety Smart." Featuring popular characters from the Lion King, this video is very high-quality and comes across as entertainment, while still providing an important message. 
  • Common Sense Media -A non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, Common Sense Media strives to provide trustworthy information and tools regarding the media that today’s children consume. The site provides a vast array of tools for both educators and families, including reviews of all types of media, lesson plans on topics such as internet safety, cyber-bullying, and digital literacy, and robust parent and educator blogs.   
  • FBI SOS Cyber Surf Island - This game, produced by the FBI, offers grade-specific lessons on different aspects of digital citizenship in a game format. With distinct paths by grade level (grades 3-8), students are presented with information and examples that are at their level. Well-produced and easy to follow, this site also offers an opportunity for schools to be recognized nationally by having their students complete the program. 
  • Internet Safety Tips for Elementary School Kids - A great resource from Common Sense Media, and one of the best, most concise, actionable set of tips that I found on how to practically address internet safety with young children.
  • Digital Citizenship: Resource Roundup -From the Edutopia website, this is an excellent curation of past articles and posts on all areas of digital citizenship: Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, Digital Responsibility, and Media and Digital Literacy. Although more geared to educators, there are definitely resources included that could be adapted for family use. 
  • iKeepSafe -Homepage for the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, a consortium of policy leaders, educators, law enforcement members, technology experts, and public health experts tasked with tracking global trends and issues surrounding digitally connected products and their affect on children. The site provides many resources for parents and educators around their 6 Pillars of Digital Citizenship and Wellness.
  • Most parents allow unsupervised internet access to children at age 8 -This is a blog post from a Network World contributor reporting on some of the key findings of a Microsoft survey about how involved parents are in the online activities of their children. The study highlights some gaps in supervision and education, and is another example of how parents need to be more knowledgeable about what their kids are doing online.

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