This article is part of a series by the J.B. Watkins PTA Digital Safety Committee.
A Message from the JB Watkins School Counselors:
During the past few months, we have been visiting the classrooms teaching about the safe use of technology. Life today is so filled with technology; we want to be sure our students are prepared and safe online and in the real world.
1ST GRADE. We watched an interactive video about the things students can do to keep themselves safe when they are online. The four key rules we focused on were:
- Always ask a trusted adult (parent, grandparent, teacher, etc.) before visiting a website or downloading an app.
- Never give out your name, address, age or other personal information.
- Only talk to people you know.
- Stick to places (websites and apps) that are just right for you.
2ND GRADE. We learned how to navigate to safe websites. We traced some words and also used a stoplight to learn how to recognize different kinds of websites:
- A green website is GOOD. These sites are safe for kids.
- A yellow website means CAUTION. Check with an adult.
- A red website means STOP. Stay away!
3RD GRADE. We talked about the responsible use of technology and the power of words while online. Specifically, we discussed the difficulty of knowing someone’s tone or intent when reading messages online. We looked at “emojis” and how they are often used as a tool to help convey the emotions/feeling that our written words sometimes cannot. Students shared ways that people can be hurt by messages over the internet. The results of our discussion highlighted two key points:
- If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, or want it said about you, then don’t say it. and
- Just because words don’t bother or upset you doesn’t mean they don’t upset others.
4TH GRADE. We watched a video, Jigsaw, that highlights the potential dangers & pitfalls of sharing too much information on the internet. Would your kids post personal info in the middle of the front lawn and leave the front door wide open? This video made them think twice.
5TH GRADE. We watched a video, Caught in the Web, that explored the consequences of choices kids make online. The internet is like a fantasy world where kids can be and do whatever their heart desires. But what happens when those choices start to affect real life? Watch and see.
Identifying a basic framework of acceptable use can help our students stay safe and will prepare them to be good digital citizens as they grow up in our tech savvy world. A variety of useful information on how you, as parents, can help your child safely navigate their online world can be found at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.
Thank you, as always, for allowing us to work with your students!
Lora Williams, Sarah Spencer & Blair Burnett
School Counselors, JB Watkins Elementary