The classrooms of yesteryear are distant memories. Gone are chalkboards, which have made way for smartboards. Even textbooks are slowly being phased out in deference to online curriculums. Modern classrooms are outfitted with digital devices that connect students to the internet. Each of these changes might surprise parents who haven’t stepped foot inside a classroom in decades.
A 2017 report from Common Sense Media said that children up to age eight spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes every day on screen media. Children between the ages of eight and 12 spend an average of four hours and 36 minutes on screens. Much of that time is spent online.
The internet can be a useful tool for students, who can go online when working on school reports. Some students even communicate online with their teachers, while others play interactive learning games that can supplement lessons taught in the classroom.
But the internet also puts students at risk of falling victim to online predators. The internet also keeps students in constant contact with their peers, which can be troublesome for students who want to get away when they get home at night. These reasons and more are motivation enough to encourage students to practice good digital citizenship and follow these safety tips when online.
Exercise caution with photos and videos posted online. These images, even when posted harmlessly, can weigh on a student’s reputation. They may even impact acceptance to schools or career opportunities in the future. Always think before posting, as content remains in cyberspace indefinitely. And remember, many schools screen for inappropriate content. Sending harassing or inappropriate material to others may result in disciplinary action.
Recognize the threat posed by online predators. The Crimes Against Children Research Center says one in five teenagers in the United States who regularly uses the internet has received unwanted sexual solicitations through the web. In addition, 25 percent have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online. Students need to be aware that not everyone on the internet is an upstanding citizen.
Keep personal information private at all times. The service eMarketer says that 75 percent of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their families in exchange for goods and services. Students need to be better educated about protecting their passwords, ages, addresses, and other personal information.
Stop cyberbullying before it starts. Students can be educated about the correct way to use the internet and how to report cyberbullying. Students also can take pledges to never make others feel uncomfortable online.