5 Ways to Teach Kids to Use Technology Safely

Posted on 31. Jul, 2012 by in For Parents, For Teachers

By Lynette Owens

Below is an excerpt of a guest post I did for the Washington Post today.  You can read the full post @ http://ow.ly/cD1CI

The Internet has always been around as far as our children can tell.  Today, as many as half of all kids up to age 8 use Internet-connected devices,  7.5 million kids under 13 use Facebook, and 30% of apps on parents’ phones are downloaded by their kids.  They’re playing games, watching videos, or using Skype with far-off relatives.  As early as kindergarten or first grade, they are being introduced to their teacher’s website using the PC or laptop in the school library.

We are in an interesting time in history when models of teaching and learning are being enhanced in ways not previously possible without technology.  Many schools are giving each student their own device to access information, participate in courses, do research and homework, and engage their teachers and classmates. These one-to-one educational technology models are being implemented in districts across the nation.

It is safe to assume that our schools will most certainly be wired for improving learning and teaching, if not today, then soon.  We expect and should continue to expect that obtaining the tools of technology are not the end, but a means to helping our kids learn the skills that will propel them into jobs and careers that will later benefit themselves and society.

But I challenge the assumption that the job of teaching kids to be good citizens of the Internet is solely within the purview of schools.  Parents are most often the first to introduce kids to technology.  Kids are also able to connect online both at home and at school, but increasingly in the places in between.  This is largely driven by the rise of mobile devices in more and younger hands, without adult supervision.  So a community approach to teaching kids to think critically on their own about what they are saying, doing, and sharing online is more important than ever.

Read the rest on the Washington Post @ http://ow.ly/cD1CI

And follow Lynette on Twitter @lynettetowens

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3 Responses to “5 Ways to Teach Kids to Use Technology Safely”

  1. Liz Repking

    01. Aug, 2012


    These are great tips. I would love to email you privately regarding some initiatives I am working on. Please email me to connect.


  2. dave

    31. Aug, 2012

    Hi Lynette, my name is “dave” and my career is….. well let’s just say internet security. When not working I help moms and dads with making their computers safe for their kids. I also volunteer with local schools. I’m asked a lot to visit classes and talk to the kids. I would really like to be able to provide info on sites like this site so parents can get info easily and feel secure the info is from a good source. I usually let PTA’s or other school programs provide this type of info, but sometimes they need a little help. Can you suggest some sites that would be helpful for parents as well as school groups? I can pass the info on.

    • lynette

      18. Sep, 2012

      Dave – thanks for your message. There are so many great resources out there – sometimes they are specific to a devices (cell phones, video games) or application (social networks) or issue (cyberbullying, privacy). I usually provide a list of great resources at the end of all of my posts. But some general ones that parents should bookmark are:

      1. Internet Safety for Kids & Families – internetsafety.trendmicro.com (by yours truly!)
      2. Center on Media and Child Health – http://www.cmch.tv (from Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, & Harvard School of Public Health)
      3. Common Sense Media – http://www.commonsensemedia.org
      4. Connectsafely – http://www.connectsafely.org
      5. Family Friendly Video Games – http://www.familyfriendlyvideogames.com
      6. iKeepSafe Coalition – http://www.ikeepsafe.org

      Hope that helps!