Almost all children today have access to the Internet through schools, libraries, community centers, or their home. And most 8 to 18-year-olds, 74 percent, have Internet access from their home computers according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Not only do more children have access to the Internet than ever before, but they are using it more, too. Many schools incorporate the Internet into their curricula and encourage online research for projects. But that’s not all kids are doing online. They also email, chat with friends through instant messenger and in chat rooms, play games, create websites and web blogs, and just surf the ‘net.
Even as kids grow savvier in their use of the Internet, it can still be a dangerous place. The good news is that most dangers can be avoided if children and their parents learn about smart Internet use.
Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA, 2000), New Boston ISD is required to inform parents and students of the use of filtering technologies to block students’ access to inappropriate web sites. To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet, or other forms of electronic communications, access to inappropriate information. It is the responsibility of all New Boston ISD staff to educate, supervise and monitor use of the online computer network and access to the Internet at all times. New Boston ISD will provide age-appropriate training for students who use the school’s Internet facilities with regard to safety on the Internet, appropriate behavior while on online, on social networking Web sites, and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.
New Boston ISD provides Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship training in technology classes, using materials aligned with Technology Applications TEKS and online training sources such as Netsmartz.org, thesafeside.com, and the adopted technology online curriculum from learning.com. For more information on Internet Safety, visit the links below,
Internet Safety Education Resources
New Boston ISD addresses Internet Safety and the Acceptable Use of the Internet and district's computer network with it's Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy. The Internet Safety section outlines the district's responsibility and commitment to provide a safe environment for our students to access online information and filter content harmful to minors to the extent possible. The Acceptable Use section defines network access and student responsibilites and outlines prohibited uses of the network and its consequences. Follow the link below to read the policy in its entirety.
Netsmartz.org - NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. With resources such as videos, games, activity cards, and presentations, NetSmartz entertains while it educates.
Basic Internet Safety for Kids - The Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. Kids who are old enough to punch in a few letters on the keyboard can literally access the world.
Social Networking - Social networking sites, chat rooms, virtual worlds, and blogs are how teens and tweens socialize online; it's important to help your child learn how to navigate these spaces safely. Among the pitfalls that come with online socializing are sharing too much information or posting comments, photos, or videos that can damage a reputation or hurt someone's feelings. Applying real-world judgment can help minimize those risks.
Visit onguardonline.org for tips to safe social networking.
Chat Rooms and Instant Messaging - A study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that teens (ages 12-17) use text messaging to communicate with their friends more than e-mail or instant messaging (IM). However, these online communication services, along with chat rooms, continue to be an important part of children’s online interactions. E-mail accounts, for example, are often necessary to join social networking sites, online games, and virtual worlds. Social networking sites, like Facebook, often have IM and e-mail components.
E-mail, IM, and chat room programs let children communicate with friends and family members. They can also allow children to connect with people that they have never met in person, making them vulnerable to online predators, cyberbullies, and scam artists. Knowing a little about each of these communication services, and the associated risks, can help parents, guardians, and other trusted adults keep children safer while online.
Cyberbullying - Cyberbullying is when a minor uses the Internet, mobile phone, or other digital media to target another child in any negative manner like sending hurtful messages, posting information, pictures, or videos to damage reputations or firendships. If an adult is involved and not just minors, it then becomes cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Gone are the days when a child’s home is a refuge from playground or neighborhood bullies. The Internet is the new playground, and there are no off-hours. Tech-savvy students are turning to cyberspace to harass their peers using a new method of bullying—cyberbullying.
The popularity of instant messaging, e-mail, web pages, text messaging, and blogging means that kids are potential targets—all day, every day. Victimization on the Internet through cyberbullying is increasing in frequency and scope. Electronic bullies can remain “virtually” anonymous. Temporary e-mail accounts and pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, and other Internet venues can make it very difficult for adolescents to determine the identity of aggressors. Individuals now have the ability to hide behind some measure of anonymity when using their personal computer or cellular phone to bully another individual.
Learn more about identifying and protecting yourself and others from cyberbullying by visiting internetsafety101.org.
Additional Resources -
Digital Activities for Middle & High School Students: https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/quick-digital-citizenship-activities-for-middle-and-high-school-distance-learning
Texas Education Agency Internet Safety Resources: https://tea.texas.gov/academics/learning-support-and-programs/technology-resources/internet-safety
Texas School Safety Center’s School Safety Toolkit: https://txssc.txstate.edu/tools/parent-safety/3-bhss/3-4-internet-safety
Department of Education – Educational Technology: https://tech.ed.gov/
Texas Attorney General – Cyber Safety: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/initiatives/cyber-safety
FBI’s Parents Guide to Internet Safety: https://www2.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm
FBI’s Safe Online Surfing: https://sos.fbi.gov/en/
Parenting, Media, and Everything in Between: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/articles/online-safety
PBS Kids Online Safety Tips For Parents: https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/online-safety-tips-for-parents
ConnectSafely – Online Safety, Privacy, Security and Digital Wellness: http://www.connectsafely.org/