Importance of Open Communication and Education
Young people’s online life is very important to them. But young people are not likely to be open about a potential cyber threat if they feel their parents’ or teacher’s reactions could put an end to their computer access and communication. From a young person’s perspective, that punishment poses a far greater threat to his or her social life than a cyber predator poses. This is one of the main reasons education and open communication about computer use between you and your students are so important. Many schools attempt to limit Internet usage by installing firewalls or by utilizing layered, age-appropriate filtering software; prescreening sites; and building intranets that limit access to unapproved sites. However, widespread use of information technology by young people is here to stay and many of these steps are easily circumvented by tech-savvy students. Additionally, students easily access the Internet through their cell phones between class periods or silently during class. Schools attempting to ban cell phone usage outright on school property often have mixed success or meet significant opposition from parents. Downloading filtering software on the computers students use isn’t enough to keep kids safe. Children can easily access the Internet in other ways and most filtering software can be defeated. Education and awareness are key.
- Make the effort to be informed about computers and the Internet.
- Promote the use of user names and passwords for each student at your school to help keep track of student usage.
- Teach students to keep personal information, along with passwords, private.
- Keep computers in common areas of your school and do not let students use faculty computers.
Do not allow your students to use:
- a webcam in a private location.
- a digital camera without discussing with them acceptable use. Do not allow your students’ pictures to be used without parental permission.
- an evidence eraser, Internet washer or drive scrubber which deletes all traces of what the computer accessed or was used for. An Internet predator will often ask the child to use these programs to keep from getting caught.
Regularly search your classroom’s computer Internet history folder or have your technology support staff conduct these scans for you.