Surfing Safe on the Net

Technology has changed our lives dramatically. We, even the people from the past, can’t remember how life was without our smart gadgets.

Prensky used the term ‘Digital Natives’ and described this new generation and for him we were the digital immigrants. “Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital Immigrants.” (Prensky, 2001)

I started using social media quite late. It was in 2009 with an introductory course to web 2.0 tools. Shortly after that I found myself on twitter, blogosphere and facebook. Meanwhile I was discovering new tools, which would add some spice to the tasks I assigned in the class.

However, there was a very important issue – being safe online. Before I introduced a tool to my students, I was trying to be careful to keep their identity safe. Moreover, my kids were growing up and they were asking my permission for a Facebook account. I was worried and I didn’t know what to do and how to guide them. It was then I had a chat with Joel Josephson at a conference in Istanbul and he told me it was not correct to keep the kids away from FB or similar social networking sites as they were the realities of their era. However; we, the parents, had to be a guide and tell them how to start as advised.

‘Tell them …

not to use their full names’

not to share photos until 13’

not to  share their passwords with others’

not to share where they live and where they study’

That was how the idea of this project emerged.

In September, when the schools started I told my headmaster that I wanted to organize a conference for the parents on e-safety. Then we gathered a project team of 11 teachers who volunteered to work. First we created posters and put them everywhere in the school and we announced that we needed students to work on this project because my idea was to make the students the presenters. 15 students arrived but we ended up with 12 very enthusiastic teenagers.

After our meetings, we decided to do it as a series of seminars

a)     for the parents of 6-10 year old kids

b)    for 4-8th graders

c)     for the parents and the students of the high school

We also decided to talk about the followings

1)    Defining the net generation and the digital era

2)    Netiquette

3)    Advantages and disadvantages of games

4)    Dangers waiting for the kids and teenagers on the net

5)    Cyber-bullying

 

presenting

We did surveys, we read articles, we even talk to psychologists on addictions, we created animations, videos, brochures, a conference blog, event on facebook J , we used facebook videos and told the parents “You never let your children walk in the street alone until s/he is ready to protect himself/herself but you leave them in front of the screens with total strangers. Instead of opening your doors to the unknown dangers, hold your kids’ hands in the early years of internet surfing. Teach them how to stay safe online.”

The magic team

 

I think we managed to raise awareness among some parents.

My students will also present at a symposium at a very well-known state university in Istanbul (ITU). The symposium is organized by the guidance counseling team of the university.

celebrating after the presentation

 

2 Comments on Surfing Safe on the Net

  1. Marijana
    April 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Bravo Eva, I really like your enthusiasm. I will share this with one of our Croatian teachers who does a Comenius project on esafety and SID day. I think involving parents was very important as not all parents know much about technolgy, their children are more technologically advanced. Parents need to be involved in as you said “kids early year of internet surfing”. I know that as a parnet myself and a teacher. You cannot forbid kids to surf, but you can surely help them an dteach them how to be aware. The point that your students had presentations themselves is even better. Bravo!

    Reply
  2. Lindsey Estes
    April 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi! My name is Lindsey Estes. I am a student at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am an elementary education major and in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Course. In EDM 310 we learn about using different technology resources in our future classrooms. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and tips on such an important issue. This is becoming a huge concern as technology becomes more prevalent. I really like the idea of having a seminar and involving both the students and parents. This is a great idea and you shared some wonderful tips. I plan to do this with the students and parents in my own classroom if I am unable to do it school wide. Thank you for inspiring a young educator like myself.

    Reply

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