By Mary Lou Rosien
I was recently contacted by a fourth grade teacher from Maplewood Elementary in Indiana. She was using a column I wrote some time ago as a resource to teach her students about internet safety. Her dear students had some additional links for me and wanted me to add them, so to Ms. Karen Galvin and her fourth grade students, here they are:http://www.cupertino.k12.ca.us/sedgwick.www/links.htmlhttp://www.any-parental-control.com/kids-online-safety.html
I am so grateful for that kind of feedback from our OSV.com readers. Ms. Galvin’s kids also asked me if I could add the old ideas I mentioned before into this new article so again, here they are (I‘ve added some new ones too):
1. Talk about the rules for internet and cell phone use. Ask your students if they have discussed the times they can use the internet, or what rules their parents have set for their safety online and on their cell phones.2. Encourage them to tell a trusted adult if they experience or come across anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared or confused.3. Instruct them to NEVER share personal information by cell phone or over the net! This includes posting on social networks when they or family members will be away from home. I am constantly baffled by adults (who should know better) “tweeting” that they are at the store, beauty salon, on vacation, etc. HELLO… do you want some one to rob your house? You wouldn’t put a sign on the front line saying you are not home, don’t do it online.4. Teach them not to respond to mean or threatening emails or text messages and to tell an adult if they are being threatened or upset in any way.5. Remind them to NEVER meet anyone in person they have met online or on their cell phone. Even if that person claims to be a friend of a friend. If after discussing the situation with their parents they need to meet someone, their parents should accompany them and it should be in a public place.6. Instruct your students not to post anything online or on a cell phone message that they wouldn’t put on the front page of a newspaper! This is my favorite safety rule. I have known people who have lost jobs, relationships or someone’s trust by doing this. Cyber space lives forever, things out there can still come back years later to haunt someone.7. Ask them to consider carefully the pictures they post. I am not sure why so many young girls feel they need a picture of themselves with pouty lips, in a low cut tank top, standing with their bottom pushed out as their profile picture. Remind them, everyone can see these pictures and they do not want to encourage any one to have inappropriate thoughts about them. This is a modesty thing, a chastity thing and a safety thing.8. Also tell them to carefully consider posting very explicit views on any subject (religion, politics, etc) online. People can draw conclusions about them that they may not have wanted to convey.
A BIG thank you to all the fourth graders in Ms. Galvin's class at Maplewood Elementary School. Have a great school year!!
*Some of these tips have been adapted from www.NetSmartz.org
Mary Lou Rosien writes from outside Rochester, NY. She is the author of Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith (OSV) and, Catholic Family Boot Camp (Bezalel Books). Check out her website, or contact her at http://www.catholicfamilybootcamp.com/.
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