Learn More About Cybersafety

Taming the Web: Bringing the Internet Safely into the Classroom

Presentation given at NYC City Council Cybersafety Summit, August 2007
Melissa Ahart, Librarian, M.S. 88

-- "The Internet is a virtual reference library, a 24/7 guidance counselor, and the most portable locker, backpack, and
notebook imaginable." -- Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0720/p09s02-coop.html)

Teen Internet Use

93% of teens use the Internet
55% of online teens ages 12-17 have created a profile on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace
47% of online teens have uploaded photos where others can see them, though many restrict access to the photos in some way
14% of online teens have posted videos online
(Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Approach to Cybersafety

The best strategy to keep children safe on the internet is to become present in the virtual world.
Educators need to model how to exist in the virtual world
Parents can best protect when they exist in the virtual world observing, listening, and participating in their child's life
The virtual world is the Main Street of the 21st century where children go to meet each other and socialize
Internet filters and protection software cannot be substituted for an active online presence for guardians of children; more
and more, children are bringing their own access that eludes monitoring software.

What's So Great About the Web in Education

Real world authentic audience
Anytime anywhere learning
Read / Write web
21st century skills / workforce readiness
Media Literacy / Information Literacy
Critical Thinking

Our Share of Issues with the Open Classroom

What schools encounter with students on the web:
Video Sharing
Social Networking
Messaging - text, instant messaging, emails

How schools respond:
Acknowledge the issue
No legislation or guidelines in place to respond to these 21st century threats
Forbidden fruit syndrome is a strategy for failure
Internet monitoring / filtering solutions have lost their effectiveness due to the increasing use of mobile & personal access that evades our digital policies

Education is the best defense
Online life is as real as physical life -- what you do online has wider implications
Reinforce the reality of the virtual world
Teach the responsible use of technology
Authentic audiences go global

Success Stories / Best Practices

Social Networks:
Computer Liaison Ning (computerliaisons.blogspot.com)

Classroom Blog
School Blog (rmhs5.blogspot.com)

Student-run wikis (http://summersurvival.wikispaces.
Teacher-run wikis (http://ms88ipw.wikispaces.com/)

Teaching Social Networking Etiquette

"Youth who engaged in four or more risky online behaviors were much more likely to report receiving online sexual solicitations. The online risky behaviors included maintaining buddy lists that included strangers, discussing sex online with people they did not know in person and being rude or nasty online."
Source: UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center

Private vs. public profiles
Creating an appropriate portrait of yourself
Maintaining self-respect and self-image online
Less is more: sharing identifiable information with the world