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How to Make the Internet Safer for Its Youngest Users

Online Citizenship & Safety Top Priority For Younger Students

As children gravitate towards technology at younger ages, whether in the comforts of their homes or at school for education purposes, it’s not always clear if they are being safe online.

A recent column by Carmela N. Curatola Knowles suggests “4 Fresh Ideas For Digital Citizenship Sooner.” Knowles argues that there is more of a tendency to monitor students at the middle-high school level, but with users getting younger, why not find ways to do so in elementary and post-secondary grades?

“How can we help all students–from elementary to post-secondary–be savvy digital citizens? It might not be as difficult as you think,” says Knowles in her column. “There are some easy ways for all educators to help students build these important skills.”

The importance is greater now more than ever and according to Knowles it is actually very simple to set the perfect ground rules for students who depend on technology for education purposes, especially in elementary and post-secondary grades.

The four ideas outlined by Knowles includes, “start a dialogue with your students, include the students, collaborate with peers and borrow best practices” and finally “start building awareness early.”

“I believe it starts with listening and learning with the students,” Knowles says of her first step. “When I started discussing Internet safety and digital citizenship with my students, I opened up a conversation with them. I was amazed by what I learned about my students individually.”

Each student like any human being is different from one another. Clearly they will all not agree that a certain rule might apply or may have a different opinion on some sites. Knowles’ proposal to start a dialogue with your students will enable you to find out what their individual needs will be.

“My anecdotal observations and numerous conversations with my colleagues tell me that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to begin these discussions at the elementary level,” says Knowles. “By doing that, we can impart useful guidelines for even our youngest minds to which they can refer for proper online behavior.”

Technology is evolving and with it comes the difficult task of keeping children, especially those who are much younger, safe as they venture in a world filled with good and bad resources. 

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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