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Technology Program Information
What is the purpose of this section?
To keep parents informed about the features of our school's technology services and to keep parents up to date about the issues facing your child's safety with technology.
If you want to keep a more watchful eye on your kids' online behavior, you can use any of several effective tools.
SafetyWeb is an online service geared toward parents who wish to keep tabs on what their kids are doing online. It checks across 45 different social networking sites to see if your child has a registered public profile, and it monitors those accounts for any potentially threatening activities. Monitored platforms include Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube. It also recognizes LiveJournal as a social network and will monitor that site, but it has yet to include other blogging platforms such as Tumblr.SafetyWebSafetyWeb monitors your child's online activity for you, so you're not in the dark about their accounts and activities.
The service will notify you, the parent, if your child has posted anything potentially unsafe or inappropriate, within categories related to drugs and alcohol, sex, depression, profanity, and cyberbullying. That way, you can check your child's public activity without having to join every site or read every post they make.
McGruff Safeguard software takes online monitoring a step further: It can record every move your child makes on the Internet, covering everything from instant-message logs to search terms on Google. Parents can keep a close eye on their children and discuss any behavior found to be dangerous or inappropriate.
Whether you use a software monitoring tool or not, experts agree that having regular conversations with your children about their online usage is the most important element to keeping them safe and aware of the dangers of the Web.
What tools do my kids use that are dangerous?
The Internet is the youth's preferred method of collaboration and communication in the modern day. The world's most popular websites are built around this idea. Some services you should be aware of that potentially put your child at risk include:
Facebook - Originally exclusive to colleges, Facebook is now a utility very similar to MySpace but with some additional security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to account information.
Instant Messenger (AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger (MSN Live!), and others) - This is a tool used to chat with friends and strangers live. Think of it as instantaneous email communication. Multimedia features allow web cam sessions (video conferencing), pictures, and sounds to be transmitted.
School Website/Personal Websites - Personal websites allow any form of information to be posted making it one of the more dangerous problems. They are safer than Facebook and Myspace only because personal webpages are more difficult to find than profiles in a directory.
Video Games - Many of the most popular video games today are playable over the Internet, allowing kids to compete against individuals all over the planet. This is a powerful and unique ability for interaction with people from different cultures, status, and nationality. NPR highlights the impact of this medium in changing world views as two 14 year olds were playing Halo 2, one from the U.S., the other from Iraq. The Iraq boy mentioned that there was a terrorist attack two blocks from his house the day before. The sympathy from the U.S. boy had a surprising positive impact on the Iraqi boy's image of the U.S. and its people. At the same time, however, it is a medium that can lure kids into false senses of security by forging friendships with unknown and potentially malicious individuals. Again, privacy is key.
Email - Similar to instant messaging and poses similar freelance privacy concerns.
YouTube - YouTube is a user-submitted video content site. Clips from favorite TV shows, videoblogs, homemade movies, cellphone videos, comedians, comical captures, and pretty much any other imaginable video category can be seen on this site. Many students post their videos to YouTube. However, YouTube is not 100% kid safe. Some explicit material is available on YouTube for a time until it is flagged inappropriate by a responsible user. Be aware of what your children are posting on YouTube, and keep a watchful eye to ensure that your child isn't being poisoned by inappropriate material. www.youtube.com
These are just a few examples of dangerous environments that can compromise the safety of your children. A parent's diligence in ensuring that their kids understand these dangers is paramount. Make sure your kids know about information privacy and that the Internet is not a benign place.