As I have been trying different techniques, examining digital storytelling, and in general ‘broadening my horizons’ in regards to digital citizenship and literacy, I have been constantly challenged with the nagging question of how to keep children safe.
I do not deny that using technology in the classroom and teaching children to do the same is essential, however, I do think that we need to worry about their safety. I don’t think that we need to filter every last thing on the internet, but I also don’t think that children, especially young ones, should have free reign and the ability to do what they want when they want.
In high school, and even middle years you can explain to kids the reality of using the internet, you can explain to them how someone could ‘use’ them, or how they could be lying about their real identity, or a whole list of other possibilities. But how do you explain those frightening possibilities to young children? Do you even discuss them?
I took this opportunity to look up Internet Safety for children on the Internet, and I found a few resources to help:
1. http://www.badguypatrol.ca/ A game for children to play (needs a bit of debriefing with the children)
2. http://www.wsd1.org/internetsafety/ A compiled list of resources for internet teaching internet safety
3. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/games/index.cfm Games for middle years students on the realities of the internet.
There are many more resources out there for educators, parents and children to access. I guess I have realized that you can and should address the issue of what could happen if children aren’t safe on the internet, even if the children are young! It is more challenging, and no, you can’t say all the same things as you might to older children, but if we don’t start teaching children from a young age, then we are not doing our jobs as educators.