Office of Instructional Technology
Internet Safety Resources
Internet safety used to be all about keeping children away from inappropriate content and illegal Web sites. While that is still a concern, Internet safety has changed as the Internet has evolved. The communication explosion that has made the world closely connected has not made the world safer. Many real-world hazards have migrated to Cyberspace, such as bullying, threats, and predators, and parents need to be proactively involved in their children's Internet world just as much or even more than they are involved in their real-world activities.
Almost all incidents in our schools involving inappropriate student behavior while online occur outside of school because of the tight supervision and filtering systems adopted by our district. However, these problems often spill over into the school in the form of bad feelings, arguments, and disruption. What we see the most includes inappropriate personal information being posted on a profile, Cyberbullying or Cyber threats via Instant Messaging or in Chat Rooms, the posting of hurtful or threatening messages, the sharing of hurtful text messages, embarrassing comments, and inappropriate photos and videos being uploaded to social networking sites such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Most of these incidents occur without the knowledge or consent of parents, who aren't aware of what their children are doing when they go online either in their own home or at a friend's house. Some parents just don't feel as comfortable with technology as their children and defer to them when it comes to the computer. Some parents work long hours and just aren't available to supervise their children's computer use after school. Some parents don't believe their children would do anything wrong so they trust them to do the right thing independently before they are mature enough to handle it. They forget they are still children, still learning, still subject to peer pressure, and still susceptible to making poor judgments.
Children, on the other hand, are growing up with technology. It is part of their everyday lives mostly for the better but sometimes for the worse. On balance, the Internet is the most positive medium for nurturing democratic ideals and providing equitable access to information ever invented. It promotes learning, communication, and socialization, but often without restraint. Children don't realize that there are real-life consequences for poor online choices. It doesn't occur to them that what they post online can be copied, saved, and forwarded to others, and their digital footprint can remain long after the original has been deleted. They feel anonymous when they create screen names and online personas that can be totally different from who they are in real life. They can fall in with a bad crowd, communicate the wrong things, get to know the wrong people, and endanger themselves and those around them.
These are some of the many reasons why we decided to post this Internet Safety Resource Page, to help educate teachers and and empower parents to proactively supervise their children's online activities and to help keep children safe when using the Internet. Below you will find practical information and links to resources that you can use right in your own home. If you have any questions about Internet Safety or comments about this page, feel free to e-mail them to Marc Epstein, District Technology Director.
GNPS Cyberbullying Speech
GNPS Elementary Internet Safety Curriculum Framework
GNPS Elementary Internet Safety Parent Letter
GNPS Policy #4526: Computer Network and Internet Acceptable Use
GNPS Policy #5221: District-Sponsored Internet Publishing
GNPS Policy #5550-E: Parents' Bill of Rights For Data Privacy and Security
CNN's Being Thirteen: Inside The Secret World of Teens
Frontline's Growing Up Online
Frontline's Generation Like
Rusty McGuire Educates Parents and Teens on the Dangers of Sexting
Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age
ASecureLife: Best Parental Controls for Monitoring Your Wireless Network
Common Sense Media
FBI: A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
Internet Safety 101: Educate, Equip, and Empower
Lifewire: Internet Controls Start At Your Router
National Center For Missing and Exploited Children: Netsmartz Workshop