I’ve been talking about Online Safety this month with my 3rd graders. Before you ask, I’m not aware of any national “Internet Safety Month” going on in March (apparently the awareness month for National Cyber Security is October. Awfully cold sounding name, eh?) At any rate, we’ve been using a website provided by the horribly cute people over at Disney called Surf Swell Island. I was first tipped off to this site while reading Christopher’s blog, and squirrelled it away until now. The kids get to follow Mickey and the gang around on Surf Swell Island, trying to recover the lost magical jewels by answering questions and completing challenges about online safety and etiquette.
While I’m not a huge Disney fan, I thought this website was appropriate for the 3rd graders as it not only did the typical “don’t tell strangers online personal information” bit, but it also included a nice mini-game about polite ways to chat or communicate with other people online, so they don’t develop into teenagers that start telling people to STFU every time they get upset with someone online (warning, don’t visit that link if you’re at school with kids around you). They had to identify more positive ways to say some rather mean-spirited and ugly comments, so it was nice to see them have to actually read and process rather than just click on the “Yes” or “No” answers so many online games have.
After they finished up with the activities, and printed off their “must have” Surf Swell Safety certificates, I had them group up and share what they had already known, and might have learned about Online Safety. I appointed one member of each group as the scribe, and they recorded everything the group had to say on the matter. When we came back together as a class they had managed to collect quite a few tips and pointers on how to stay safe online, many of which hadn’t even been addressed on the Disney site. So what did we do with all of that information? We turned it into an Online Safety Campaign, and created posters to promote Internet Safety in KidPix (although Paint, Tux Paint, and other pieces of graphics software would have done the same job). Their currently in the process of finishing up, and have started to put the posters up all around school. That gave them a little thrill, as they could place them anywhere in the hallways they wanted, even the fourth and fifth grade hallways where they rarely get a chance to go. I’ve put a few examples of their work here within the post, but my favorite is below, which I’ve dubbed the “Safe Surfer Dude”. You can click on any of the images to get a larger version.
I love seeing student work!! Thanks for sharing Ben!
Hi. Great info! Love the pics!
I have spear headed Internet Safety for the past two years, not only by creating and implementing a personalized and unique online safety curriculum for all 2nd and 3rd graders that extends for seven weeks, but am the Regional Office of Educations Internet Safety Coordinator for the entire district as well as writing a regular newspaper column.
We had an Internet Safety Day throughout our school district including an assembly I presented, where the children finally found out who the 6 Internet Safety Poster Contest winners were, and the Mayor of our city proclaimed it Internet Safety Day. Later that evening, we held an Internet Safety Parent Forum with various presenters(including myself), in which Miss Illiois emceed the event. It was a very hectic, busy day, but awesome!
I recently put together a resource for parents and educators on Internet Safety education and awareness. As I work with hundreds of children in a computer lab environment, and Internet Safety issues and concerns are not only my job, but my passion, I hope to provide a unique perspective in this arena. I’m hoping my site will be different than others. If you have a moment, please take a look at it.
Education and awareness is critical in keeping our children safer online!
Janine – Thanks, I’ll mention your words to the kids, they always love it when they hear good things about their work.
Jacer – Wow. That’s quite an impressive feat. I’ll be sure to look into your site.
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