When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.
With the tremendous popularity of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, cell phones, text messaging and file sharing, more than ever before, parents don’t know who their kids are talking to. And at times, our kids may not know either.
Safe in YourSpace encourages children, parents and teachers to talk with one another about how to stay safe online. Parents and educators need to talk with children about the kind of dangers they can encounter online. The conversation needs to cover everything from cyberbullying to financial scams and sexual victimization. It’s important that we talk about how to protect personal information – including addresses, photos, banking and tax records, and whatever else may be stored on our computers.
The technology may be new, but the Internet safety message isn’t – it’s basically just a new twist on “Don’t talk to strangers” for the 21st Century. Safe in YourSpace provides some good information to help start the conversation, as well as links to some of the best sites already developed in this area. We hope you find it helpful.
Presentations by an Internet Crimes Investigator from the Montana Department of Justice are available for students 4-6 grade, 7-8 grade, and 9-12 grade. Free of charge, these presentations are normally 45 minutes long and focus on Internet safety, specifically how students can protect themselves online, what to do about cyber bullying, and sexting. Presentations are also offered for parents and community groups.
Several different trainings for law enforcement groups are available as well. Topics include online safety, online investigations, and evidence collection.
For more information, call (406) 896-4389.