Why is Internet or Online Safety so important today?
Kids are becoming more internet dependent and learning computers at a much earlier age. This means that our children are growing up in a virtual reality and it is our job as parents/optimists to adapt and take part in this reality. Here are some key points to assist us in doing that:
- Spend time with your children on the sites and let them teach you how to do navigate.
- Make sure the computer is in a common area and not in a bedroom. This will help to keep what is being done on the computer more public.
- Create a social network profile yourself and have request to be friends with your child. This keeps other people aware that you can see what is posted on their walls and will help to deter anyone that is dishonest.
- Make sure to check the history on your computer. Go online and then press the ctrl key with the letter h key at the same time and a window will pop up showing you the history of where anyone has went on the internet.
- Keep Communicating – Kids needs to have a channel/adult to talk to when things are questionable .
Business is growing online and with Social Network Marketing becoming the new marketing platform it is even more important to teach parents and children how to be safe on the internet. Parents should know the resources that are out there to assist them in creating a safe environment for the youth in our communities. It is our job to provide them these resources and to help them with some very easy tools to get them started. Let us go over some of the Free Resources that are available to children, parents and educators from around the internet.
Remember that once it is on the web it is there for life in a lot of cases. This is important because in a research commissioned by Microsoft found that of the U.S. hiring managers and job recruiters surveyed, 79% of them routinely review online reputational information when considering job applicants. This means all of those pictures about college parties with your friends can now be used to determine employment later. Learning social online etiquette is very important and learning it earlier is better than later.
Our goal is to help kids be good citizens and to teach them the tools to succeed in the world, right?
If our children are becoming more involved in the virtual world then is it not our goal to teach them how to be safe and protected there as well?
So what is it that the Optimist International has done about teaching our children about the online world?
Optimist International and Internet Safety
Optimist International launched its Internet Safety Program in December of 2008. Danny Rodgers proclaimed April as Internet Safety Month on the 10th of December 2010. See the proclamation by Danny Click Here
So you might ask what does this have to do with your club and how can you promote and use this program to help youth as well as build your membership and club. First thing is to elect an Internet Safety Committee Chairperson for your club. This person does not have to be experienced in Internet Safety but should be interested in learning all the resources out there to promote and direct people to learn more about internet safety. I recommend that the first thing every Internet Safety Chair should watch is the two videos that are on Optimist Internationals site Here
Order your Internet Safety Kit for your club at: http://optimist.org/e/member/internetsafety1.cfm
There are several different programs provided by Optimist International addressing the different topics of Internet or Online Safety. Each club will receive one free kit for their club that they can use to make copies and duplicate.
Note our Video Section as well that has the Optimist Video broken down into sections. If you would like to use these sections instead simply contact Michael to have him send you the videos or use them from our Optimist Youtube Channel.
The supplemental material included with the Internet Safety Kit contains 5 cd’s that will provide you videos and training material to use presenting different programs to groups and schools.
FREE Government Resources
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
The FTC provides free bulk orders of internet safety handouts and packages for you to use during your events. The website address is: https://bulkorder.ftc.gov The Net Cetera book is no longer available for bulk order but you can download to print it if you want. The Heads Up which is provided in your packet is available and you can have these very easily at your functions to hand out to parents and kids. I recommend you put a label on the back of the handout “Provided by “your Optimist Club” with your website address.
With Social Network Marketing taking hold now and companies using social networks to market their products it is important to teach children about advertising in my opinion. To do this the FTC has an online game for children teaching them about internet advertising or advertising all together. The site called Admongo (http://www.admongo.gov) is an interactive game that the kids play to learn about advertising. I have played it and it is like a Mario game so they will enjoy the online experience. "Click Here"
You can find free resources to promote it at your events from free bookmarks to actual lesson plans . Parents and kids like the colorful bookmarks and it is a great way to hand out useful information. I have received many comments on how thoughtful we are to think of this and to help them understand the internet better. Your packet includes some of the free material that the government will provide you to make a difference and promote Internet Safety. Note that all of these materials were sent to me FREE of Charge in bulk.
Another free resource provided by the government is http://onguardonline.gov that is intended for students, parents and educators as well. It covers several topics including reply to all in emails which we all can learn a lesson in at times J
USE THE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES TO TELL PEOPLE AT YOUR EVENT THAT YOU HAVE AN INTERNET SAFETY PROGRAM AND THAT YOU ARE THERE TO PROVIDE TRAINING AND PRESENTATIONS TO EVERYONE AND ANYONE. THEY ARE FREE AND AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE.
This site http://netsmartz.org is dedicated to teaching parents/children a wide range of topics to keep kids safe. Going through the resources there is every topic and all the material is free to download and use. These tools are designed to be interactive and informative. There are two different styles on the site. The PowerPoint presentations that take 45 minutes and they also have shorter movie and activity workshops that you can download and use. Show a quick 3-5 minute movie and do an activity and all are free to use. They are not very responsive to questions but they have a complete site of training for all ages that parents, teachers and clubs can use. They also partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs to provide fantastic programs. Another great idea is to print off the fact sheets or handouts that they have to take to your events. You can provide them to parents to have their kids sign an agreement that this is what they will do online. Or use it as a template to come up with your own to hand out.
www.webwisekids.org offers training packets for grades K-6 as well as a FREE itunes application (BeSeen) that will teach kids about social networking. You can download it to any device that runs an app for the iPhone like an iPod touch or iPad as well. Makes for a nice game for kids to start to play to learn about social networking. This organization seems focused on making learning fun with games for kids. They took the idea from Canada on a game that was designed to keep kids safe from predators.
I keep safe is dedicated to peace of mind for families online. Simply visit http://www.ikeepsafe.org/ and you will find several resources for parents, educators and youth all in one site. They also focus on providing a program called Generation Safe that is focused on providing a safe environment for schools. They have several videos designed for youth and parents alike and are nice resources. This site is a little more difficult to navigate and find things that we can use at our functions.
This site http://ikeepcurrent.org is very unique and part of the IKeepSafe network but arranged to provide newsletters with current events and training on internet safety. They take a current event and use it to teach parents and youth and provide an actual lesson plan. This is very important for structure and anyone can follow it so a great resource for parents and schools. I would recommend that we put links to this site as well on our Optimist site to direct people to it.
http://StopThinkConnect.org also known as the National Cyber Security Alliance is another resource that is designed to teach about internet safety. They have a nice simple sheet for Internet Safety that you can use.
Stop – Before you use the internet, take time to understand the risks and lean how to spot potential problems.
Think – Take a moment to be certain the path is ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your families.
Connect – Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
This website http://staysafeonline.org has teaching materials for online internet safety for teachers and parents. You can download them online to use as well and hand out at your functions. The information on password security is good and basic for everyone.
Microsoft Safety and Security Center:
Microsoft has a section for PC security and offers free Security tools for your computer. Go to: http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.aspx and you will find a micro site that is designed to teach you all about internet and computer safety. I recommend that everyone take a look at Privacy – Social Networking – 11 tips for social networking safety. Microsoft is the leader in computers and the internet so they know what they are talking about here.
THE FIRST THING WE NEED TO DO IS TO STIR UP INTEREST IN OUR CLUBS AND ZONES. APPOINT CHAIRS THAT CAN DRIVE THE PROGRAM ON A LOCAL LEVEL.
We will only be successful with Internet Safety if we start to be creative and find ways to implement it into our current events and clubs. This program is not a program that has one way of doing it in order to make it work.
JOI Clubs can be a great place to start and launch your internet safety programs. Teach the kids to be sponsors of internet safety in the community and in their schools. Have them take a vested interest in the program and design their own programs as well. What better place to start a district internet safety program than with the kids we are looking at helping.
I am available to attend your functions and visit with your clubs. Do training online for your Internet Safety Chairs and teach you what I have found out as well. Contact Michael Holt (PSWD District Internet Safety Ambassador) at Email and let me know what you need.
The key to our success is let’s find out what works for each club and build on that. Let’s help parents and teachers teach our youth how to avoid online dangers. If even one child is saved from one of the stories we heard today I think you will agree that the effort we put into this program was well worth it.