In the last decade teachers have been presented with a unique challenge: protecting children from the dangers of the Internet. Many teachers struggle with this challenge because the Internet was not something that they grew up knowing about. Likewise parents struggle to help to teach their children because they are not sure of the dangers or of the resources available that can help. In a 2005 study about 47% of parents felt that their ability to monitor and shelter their children from inappropriate material was limited.
Other parents may have a false sense of security. 95% of parents say they know “some” or “a lot” about where their children go or what their children do on the Internet. Yet at the same time 26% of students believe their parents would be concerned if they really knew what they did on the Internet. There is no doubt that issues of Internet safety are the primary responsibility of the parents, yet teachers are also faced with the unique responsibility of trying to reinforce established rules and to make sure that students understand the risks that they take when they act recklessly online.
Fortunately there are resources for teachers who are looking for information about Internet safety for the classroom. Technological aids such as filters, firewalls, activity reporting, etc. can be purchased and installed on any computer. These aids allow a teacher to designate specifically which websites are inappropriate for the classroom. Filters also give teachers the ability to filter out categories of content that they do not want shown in the classroom such as pornography. Although personal information should not be shared online, if it is, firewalls protect sensitive information from prying eyes. Activity reporting provides the teacher with a detailed report of all the websites that were visited by specific users at specific times. If there are websites that the filter did not catch, a teacher would be able to see these sites on the activity report and manually enter them in as sites that need to be blocked.
There are also specific programs designed for teachers. With 12% of students admitting that they have unsupervised Internet access at school, educators are in need of extra help. Below you will find more information about two specific projects dedicated to helping teachers learn more about and apply better principles of Internet safety in the classroom.
i-SAFE is recognized internationally as a leader in safety education. i-SAFE was founded in 1998 and is endorsed by the U.S. Congress as a foundation dedicated to protecting youth while they are on the Internet. i-SAFE offers classroom curricula and has numerous outreach programs that are dedicated to the empowerment and education of teachers, parents, and other adults concerned about the wellbeing of our children. For more information on how you can get involved, visit i-SAFE.
NetAlert’s CyberSafe Schools
The CyberSafe Schools project is a source for useful information for teachers concerned about Internet safety at school. CyberSafe is designed to help teachers minimize online risk as well as teach Internet safety principles to children that they can then apply at home or wherever else they may choose to go online. This project provides teachers with safety education in the school curriculum, a quick reference guide, and an information booklet entitled â€˜A Teacher’s Guide to Internet Safety’. CyberSafe also has a community outreach program that offers free advice to parents, teachers and children. This information can be found at NetAlert. To find the NetAlert online resources for teachers, visit NetAlert for Teachers. NetAlert also has made available a toll free Internet safety helpline. The phone number for this helpline is: 1-800-880-176 (it is an Australian number).