After watching a youth safety presentation at a middle school yesterday (more info at, it was clear that teachers and students don't agree on what's interesting and educational in regards to online safety.

Is it possible to merge the needs and requirements of teachers but at the same time keep kids interested and educated on what's really important (to their savvy level)?

Tags: internet, kids, online, safety, teachers, versus, youth

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I think it's possible, but districts must make it a priority. I think the Internet changes so quickly that some districts are waiting for things to settle down before they jump into the fray. This makes sense for the short term, but not the long. Districts must engage if they want to be a relevant part of the conversation, or else they'll find themselves completely irrelevant.

Just out of curiosity, what curriculum does Kiwiseminars offer along the lines of student saftey? I looked at the site and little in online solutions, but did see a rather fear mongering photo.

Take a look CyberSmart for some ideas.
To Mr. Seminar, Is this a commercial?
I agree with that Patrick, I suppose the only issue now is finding a way to make it a priority, which means appeasing the board's, then the teachers, parents and then the students.

Great link btw. I really like CyberSmart's 5 online workshops. It's nice to see something more web 2.0.

In reply to Nancy: not this is not a commercial. I'm spending my personal time to find ways to educate youth on internet safety, through resource compilation and other means. I used Kiwi Seminars as an example because they are a non-profit that is trying to do something positive in the education system in Ontario, including seminars to kids as well as teachers. Though I'm not a fan of the fear mongering image either Patrick!
I thought you worked for them--there is an interesting article in the eSchool News--results from a task force that concluded the kids who get in trouble are exhibiting risky behaviors elsewhere. N
Can you post the link Nancy?
Kiwi, I think this is the article Panel: Technology alone can’t protect kids online, you may need to d/l the whole newspaper. (My paper is at school so I can't look) Here is the site
As part of my college class, we discussed internet safety and I found out that some schools make their students go through ISafe training before they can accesss Internet sites. (kids page link)

Teachers should also go through the training, or the school should definately offer as a PD session.

For younger kids, and I had my 3rd and 1st grader go through the training, is a great site.
Until this is mandated by my district it won't happen for all kids, too bad.
I find my students are already pretty savvy about the risks on the web and look at much of the established curriculum as "lame"! I've tried developing my own lessons that are a bit more tailored to the 7th grade (12 & 13 year olds) I teach. To start off, we use Windows Movie Maker and they each develop a "Two Truths & a Lie" movie about themselves. Then they research how to spot a liar - most all of their findings require visual or audio connection to the "liar'. We then talk about how hard it is to spot a liar or predator on the web because these strategies can't be used.

I use a few of the of videos from NetSmartz ( - "Tracking Theresa" is a good one to illustrate the dangers of personal info. ANother decent site is - but as often happens, the creators missed the mark on how to engage middle school/high school kids - it is a little juvenile.

It is a tough subject to teach middle/high school kids - I find videos or new stories about "real life" kids they can identify gets the message across most effectively.
Pat, At least you're trying. Good for you. One good strategy to use might be having the class read the results of some of the studies done about who's at risk. The article I mentioned earlier in the post from eschool news might be a good one to start a discussion. The task force put at least part of the 'blame' on the kid.

One of the current 'trends' that really bothers me is kids, especially girls, as young as 12 sending provocative photos and text to classmates---some of these peer to peer actions (like cyberbullying) are much more common than stranger predators.

Of course middle school kids already know everything. Good Luck!!
I agree - I find the whole "posting to be popular" trend even more disturbing than the predator issue. There was just a story here in Barnstable, MA about a middle school girl's nude photo being "sexted" around her middle school within hours of it being sent. It was a timely story for my kids - especially the girls. So much pressure on them to be popular and attractive - they can't get past that to see the danger and just general self-esteem issues. Thanks for the suggestion about the "at risk students". I'll look to that as a discussion starter.
Indigo, I agree. The punishment can be harsh including not getting jobs, or into colleges, and as you mentioned big legal trouble.



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