Internet and Social Media Awareness
The internet is a growing part of our lives, and students are being exposed to a wide range of content as they work and play online. As a school district, we are continuing to educate students about the risks posed by irresponsible use of the internet. We encourage every parent to be a part of proactive efforts to help our youth use their social media accounts in a safe and responsible way. Students also play an important role in alerting their parents and school administrators to any suspicious online behavior that they witness. Here are a few tips for students and parents to keep in mind as they spend time online.
Don’t make irresponsible, frightening, or threatening posts on your online accounts as they will likely result in serious legal and school disciplinary action.
NEVER forward or re-post an inappropriate or threatening post or message that you see or receive online. Instead, report that post and/or message to an adult and/or school staff member immediately.
Encourage your friends to be responsible internet and social media users.
Be familiar with your child’s online activity, including all social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to “follow” or “friend” your kids on their personal social media channels.
Talk to your kids regularly about their use of the internet and social media, and create a safe environment for your children to report internet activity or online posts/messages that make them uncomfortable.
Be aware of the consequences (legal and school-based) of inappropriate use of the internet, including forwarding or re-posting of inappropriate or threatening content, to your child and your family.
Report inappropriate or threatening online content immediately to law enforcement or school staff.
The digital world is constantly evolving with new social media platforms, apps, and devices, and children and teens are often the first to use them. Some negative things that may occur include cyberbullying, sexting, posting hateful messages or content, and participating in negative group conversations. If your child posts harmful or negative content online, it may not only harm other children; it can affect their online reputation, which can have negative implications for their employment or college admission.
While you may not be able to monitor all of your child’s activities, there are things you can do to prevent cyberbullying and protect your child from harmful digital behavior:
Monitor a teen’s social media sites, apps, and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.
Most handheld devices (Phones, iPods, etc...) have parenting applications and settings that can greatly assist in guidance.
Review or re-set your child’s phone location and privacy settings.
Follow or friend your teen on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.
Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by children and teens.
Know your child’s user names and passwords for email and social media.
Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content, and apps.
Digital Monitoring Apps and Software for Parents
Parents who want to protect their children from cyberbullying, harmful digital behavior, and exposure to adult content can use parental control and monitoring software to help them set up systems that are less invasive to their children.
There are free software options and apps available to help parents restrict content, block domains, or view their children’s online activities, including social media, without looking at their child’s devices every day. Most of the free software options provide some features for free but charge for more robust insight.
A parent should consider a child’s age, device use, and digital behavior when selecting software – what is suitable to restrict for a ten-year-old may not be useful for a teenager.
ConnectSafely.org has basic guidelines for teens and parents about cyberbullying, sexting, social networking, and more.
FBI’s Safe Online Surfing (SOS) Internet Challenge is a free, fun, and informative program that promotes cyber citizenship by educating students in third to eighth grades on the essentials of online security. For teachers, the site provides a ready-made curriculum that meets state and federal Internet safety mandates, complete with online testing and a national competition to encourage learning and participation.
iKeepSafe.org seeks to give parents, educators, and policymakers the information and tools which power them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the internet.
NetSmartz is a safety resource from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for children aged 5 to 17, parents, guardians, educators and law enforcement that uses activities to teach internet safety
Common Sense Media is an organization that reviews and provides ratings for media and technology with the goal of providing information on their suitability for children
Smart Social- Online resources for parents, teachers and students that has a wide variety of tips and live webinars.