Sunday, October 30, 2005

Internet Safety

Students need to be aware of the dangers associated with the Internet. As there can be a lot of information on the internet, there can also be a lot of false information or information meant to mislead, attack, persuade, or harm children.

Instant Messaging, Chat Sites, Hate Sites, Plagiaristic Information, among other sources of Internet exploration have harmful conotations to students. They can be misled, misinformed, or drawn into consumer propaganda. Many sites on the Internet focus on younger age groups that have not yet developed critical thinking skills as fully as others. These sites tend to misinterpret information or provide only views of individuals (often hateful views). Students tend to believe what they read on the Internet as it is considered a viable source of information. What they need to realize is that what is there... is not always the truth.

There is a wide range of harmful ideas that might be given to children from the Internet. Chat sites may host pedophiles claiming to be young girls or boys who can persuade children to meet them and be attacked. Hate sites disguised as information based sites are propaganda to spread hate and ideas. Instant messaging provides a great forum for random messages with links to pornography or other illegal materials. Web marketing involving video games or other highly popular technology can draw children in to a site that is inappropriate. These are only a few examples and don't include things like being misled, hateful emails, serial killers, etc. Children really need to be aware that there are dangers on the Internet and how to distinguish them and deal with them appropriately. That is our job as educators when the Internet is applied to classroom use.

So many dangers on the Internet are prevalent in this day and age. As adults we have had the time to explore and critically analyze what we have seen and what we have read. We have been victim to many of the above dangers and in being victim have also become guardians against those same dangers. By providing safe tools and reputable sites and guiding searches through our own searches we can help students become aware of those dangers while not having to deal with them themselves. This opens us up to those same dangers though and many adults still have difficulty distinguishing "good" from "bad" on the Internet. All we can do, as teachers, is educate students about the dangers so when they do encounter those situations, they can be cautious and wary.

In conclusion, it is my personal belief that looking at everything as potentially harmful can put people into a state of over-caution and can be crippling to the point students are unwilling to use the Internet. It is best that we make students aware of the dangers of the internet and how to handle them than to always guide them to trusted sites. When we were children our parents said "Never take candy from a stranger!" That doesn't mean we never encountered offers of candy, we just knew what to do in that situation. And so, Internet Safety is about knowledge and about forethought before dealing with situations that might arise. Knowledge is power, and a good knowledge base of potential dangers is a great shield against anything students might run across.


Post a Comment

<< Home