You Can’t Keep Kids Offline So Keep Them Safe Online

You Can’t Keep Kids Offline So Keep Them Safe Online

I personally do not remember how cyber safety was approached in my own school. I don’t remember any teacher having conversations with us about how to be safe online. I definitely had these conversations with my parents and they scared me to be safe for sure. I was scared to post anything because they said people would be able to figure out where I live. They also warned me to add random strangers on any social media site. Being the nervous child I was, I listened because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to me. I think that the fact that I don’t remember any of these conversations from school says a lot. I believe that they didn’t really affect me because they were not effective. They weren’t memorable because they didn’t scare me enough. I believe that the scare tactic approach used by my family was very effective for me and it did in fact cause me to be very safe online.

I also want to make a note that when I was younger, the internet just started to develop so I don’t think there was a lot of knowledge about it at this time. We have a lot more information and data about it now which would make it a lot easier to teach students about how to safely use it than there was when I was a kid.

Something I distinctly remember from my childhood was hanging out with one of my friends who was much more adventurous online. She would talk to random strangers on the KIK app (a messaging app) on our IPods and IPhones. She would also go on some website where you could video chat with random strangers. I was always so scared when she would do this but despite what I said, she would keep doing it. Now being older and looking back on that I realize how badly that could have turned out for her. She is lucky that nothing major happened and that it didn’t get carried away like it did for Amanda Todd.

Knowing what I know now and wanting to be a teacher, I think that it should be mandatory for children to learn about how to be safe online. I do think that scaring them is the best tactic. Showing older students the Amanda Todd video could show them just how dangerous it can be online. Obviously you would need to show them age appropriate things and be careful not to show them things they will not understand. Students in grade 4 and up should be learning about cyber safety because this is the age when they start going online. This should be incorporated in the Saskatchewan Curriculum.

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Keep Kids Offline So Keep Them Safe Online

  1. I forgot about the Kik app that used to be available, my daughter used that app as well. I also was fearful of talking to random people that we didn’t know. It seemed weird to me because we would never randomly do that on the street. I think scaring kids is partly needed just for the simple fact that what can happen is very scary. I personally feel the hardest part in all of the teaching around it, is getting them to actually believe that it can happen to them as well very easily. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I read your blog and forgot to watch the Amanda Todd video but I just watched the “Sextortion of Amanda Todd” to get a better understanding of how cyber safety is important. I was pretty mad and sad when I watched the video and many thoughts came to my head about my school never teaching us kids about online safety and I haven’t witnessed any cyberbullying in my schools either, maybe because the school I went to as a kid wasn’t well off and so werent the students and at that time phones and computers were expensive (Rather buy lunch for a month than data) and I appreciate how motivated you are at helping students know the dangers of being online and its true that we cant keep kids offline because its such a huge part of our everyday living. Thanks for your blog because without it I would’ve forgot about watching the Amanda Todd video.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a similar experience that I blogged about, and like you said, we are very fortunate that nothing bad happened when we were online chatting to strangers around the world. I didn’t even know who about Amanda Todd’s story until we were assigned the video! That made me realize even more how little our parents and the schools knew about cyber safety.

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