Monday, June 14, 2010

Online Safety Report Discourages Scare Tactics

School’s out and thousands of students have a much deserved rest from school but how will these students spend their time online this summer? A federal online safety task force found that students who spend a large amount of time with social networking sites, text messaging and other ways to communicate are not influenced by scare tactics for Internet safety. The task force determined that educating students about appropriate online behavior and digital media use will enable students to evaluate potential online risks through digital citizenship and media literacy.

The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG), created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, recommends creating a web-based clearinghouse of online safety education research and establishing industry best practices for effective internet safety education program.

The group pointed out that “the statistical probability of a young person being physically assaulted by an adult who they first met online is extremely low.” The Berkman Center Internet Safety Technical Task Force found that cases of adult –to-child sexual encounters on social networks usually involved teens who were aware that they were meeting an adult male while cyber bullying can start as early as second grade. Unfortunately many parents and teachers don’t sufficiently know how to teach digital citizenship to students.

With summer here, many students will spend hours online in social networking sites and on the internet. Without understanding the risks, many students will be on their own this summer to figure out the ethics, social norms, and civil behaviors that lead to good citizenship and internet safety according to the OSTWG. Parents need to know what sort of content and information will be accessible to students when they are online. So get involved, check out what students are doing online, ask questions about who they are meeting in social networking sites and talk to them about internet safety and cyber bullying.

To read the entire article from eSchoolNews go to:

To learn more about the Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) go to:

To read the report Youth Safety on a Living Internet please go to:

To learn about the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenships go to:

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