Wednesday, February 4, 2015
As part of Red Ribbon Week, we had some short lessons about staying safe online during each grade level's lunchtime today.
At Willow Creek Elementary, we do our best to keep kids safe — and one of the big advantages we have is that we can control access to the Internet through user accounts and a strong web filter. On top of that, students never have unsupervised access to the World Wide Web; adults are always in the same room keeping an eye on what's happening. And when technology is introduced into the classroom, teachers explain how to use it responsibly.
But what can you do at home? You probably don't have an IT department at your beck and call! Here are a few suggestions from Mrs. Domino, one of our Technology Technicians.
Keep all kinds of technology in family spaces, not in your child's bedroom. It will be much easier to monitor what's going on and how much "screen time" your child is getting.
Set Up Kid Accounts and Use Parental Controls
Whatever kind of computer you use, think about setting up a separate user account for each of your kids. First, it keeps them out of your account — which means your information is safe and secure. Second, once you have created a child's account, you can use Parental Controls to restrict your child's access to dangerous websites or chat rooms. If you need help to set up these controls, here are some resources that will get you started:
Privacy and Internet Safety:
For a Mac computer running:
Leopard, Snow Leopard: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201813
Mountain Lion: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH11468?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
El Capitan: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21683?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
For Windows 8 machines:
Make It Easy to Be in a Good Place: Use Bookmarks
Help your child find appropriate websites. There's a wealth of wonderful information on the Internet, but it's too easy for a young child to misspell a word and end up looking at an inappropriate site. Sit down with your child and bookmark websites that they will enjoy. Today we watched some animal videos from the San Diego Zoo (http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/), and some classes saw a children's interactive tour of New York City's Museum of Modern Art (http://www.moma.org/interactives/destination/).
Bookmarking websites is a wonderful gift to your children — they will be able to explore appropriate sites without needing you by their side to type in the web address. While you are bookmarking, add in Willow Creek's online resources, such as BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. We pay for home access to many of the websites we use at school; just stop by the library to pick up the Online Resources brochure with the user names and passwords needed for access. Your teacher may use particular web resources, too; look on the teacher's website or Schoology website for more information.
Finally, keep current with what's great for kids and what's not by going to Common Sense Media's website. Cherry Creek has partnered with this organization to use their great digital citizenship lessons and technology integration resources. A large part of their website is written for parents and offers reviews and ratings of all forms of media. Check it out today!