Internet Safety has been the topic of discussion in my computer lab the last few weeks. Our district implemented an Internet Safety curriculum that all computer resource teachers must teach to the classes that come into the computer lab. As I begin my lesson on safe user names and passwords, I am reminded why this is so important. When asked what website my students visit when at home, the overwhelming majority of them say Facebook.
I teach at a K-6 elementary school. 6th graders are 11 years old, maybe 12. Facebook is for anyone 13 and older. When I tell my students about this rule, they often roll their eyes or laugh like it’s a big joke. Many say their parents helped sign them up, obviously fudging on their age. Some of the students are in 4th grade, 9 years old.
Facebook has become a dangerous site for young students. There have been horrible incidents of cyber-bullying that have lead to suicide in some cases. Depending on the students’ privacy settings, anyone can get on and find out where the student lives, where they go to school, how old they are, and even what they look like.
I know that I can warn my students about the dangers of Facebook until I am blue in the face, but it’s the parents who really need to be educated about the dangers. I am doing my part as a teacher to warn them and give them the tools to stay safe, but who knows how much they hear and apply when they get home and turn on that computer.
Here are some resources for parents I have found helpful: