I teach an online safety unit with my students. As I start out to teach this unit every year, I always do research to make sure I present the most up-to-date information. A lot has not changed, but there is always something new I need to educate myself about. Students often feel they know more, especially about this topic, than adults. They are delving into new things all the time. However, their overall behavior has not changed, and the lessons are the same even if the tools are new. As educators we need be keep our pulse on the current line up of apps and websites so that we really understand what our students are up against. If we keep using Facebook as our “go to” example, we are being left behind. Those of us in the “Facebook era” may not recognize that the tools kids are using often have fewer (or no) privacy settings. Many of these apps and sites contain open porn and bullying. The design of the apps uses secrecy and anonymity, which encourages kids to be inappropriate, bully, and share too much information. The fact that kids can screen shot a post, even in a app like SnapChat (where the posts are supposed to self destruct) and the consequences of that, is not always recognized by our students. One way I teach online digital literacy is to train the kids how to “chat” or reply to other student posts in a positive and constructive way. Students need to practice this skill. Using tools such as Edublogs, Edmodo and Actively Learn (check out Kari’s post on Actively Learn), we spend time practicing how to create positive comments. Students don’t realize that the written word is interpreted differently than the spoken word. I love this video on teens and social media. In it, Josh Ochs talks about always making posts LIGHT, BRIGHT, AND POLITE. Watch the video to see how he explains this concept and how kids can connect with a positive approach to social networking. These are message kids need to keep hearing! Her are some more amazing resources I use.
- Netsmartz One of my favorite resources for complete lessons and videos.
- Common Sense Media This is the curriculum page where you can find videos and great, “doable” lessons for cyber safety. Everything on CSM is fantastic.
Games that have a Cyber Safety theme
Here is a list from Common Sense Media of apps and sites that kids are using: Texting apps
Micro-blogging apps and sites
Chatting, Meeting, Dating apps and sites
Stay tuned for more CyberSafety resources. -Linda
Image credit: Eddie~S – Uploaded by Doktory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Cyberbullying#/media/File:Bully_Free_Zone.jpg