With the world at our fingertips, literally, we have the capability of listening to books, ordering our groceries online, and the ability to FaceTime family and friends on the other side of the world. High-speed internet allows us to do our jobs, allows our children to go to school, and communicate with anyone we want. Godfrey Reggio said it best: “It’s not that we use technology, we live technology”. Just like with other aspects of life, we still have to be careful and use good judgment to safely navigate a digital world.
In the world we live in, 74% of the US population has at least one shared computer in the household, the average ten year old has their own phone, and 50% of twelve year olds have their own social media account (inc.com). Being safe in a digital world is now more important than it ever has been before. Not every child or household falls into these parameters but there is still a need to have the safe internet talk with children as soon as they are given access to a computer or cell phone. The best way to have the safe internet talk is to do the following:
Start a discussion: Talk to your kids about what they know about the internet, how it is beneficial. After talking about what they know, fill in the gaps like what they didn’t think of and what the dangers are.
Be involved: Keep asking questions. This doesn’t mean that you need to be constantly bugging your child about what they are doing online but take an interest in what they are doing.
Talk to Other Parents: Utilize each other because this is one of the best ways to stay informed in what is happening in the community. Chances are that if it has happened to one person that it has happened to someone else.
Set and Enforce Boundaries: Let your child know what is and what is not acceptable online behavior. If the rules are broken, enforce the consequences so your child knows you are serious.
Stay Informed: Know what is going on with your child, at your child’s school regarding digital safety, regularly check your own computer safety, and talk to others.
Now the main question becomes how does Bonneville Academy keep their students safe? “Our network and internet connections are protected with a managed firewall and content filtering solution. Our web filtering is content and context-based, so even if a website isn’t explicitly blocked, it’s analyzed for content and is blocked or allowed dynamically. Our student email has strong controls over who is allowed to send to whom and has a flagging system for offensive language” (George Ligon, IT).
We can all work together to ensure that as adults and children, we are all living safe in a digital world.
Bonneville Academy is a K-8 STEM school in Stansbury Park, Utah. Bonneville Academy will foster critical thinking and problem solving skills in a challenging, student-centered environment; by encouraging exploration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Preparing students for success in our ever changing dynamic world.