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Technology

Technology Information & Resources for Parents

Since technology is now ubiquitous in daily life, children have wonderful opportunities to access a wide variety of resources and information that can enhance and transform their learning.  Whether at school or at home, students are using cell phones, tablets, computers, online learning environments and social media to communicate and collaborate on real world projects which foster critical thinking and creativity.  The potential and opportunities for students to create amazing products is boundless, and so are the risks.

 

According to a 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project research study, “about one-third of online teens (ages 12-17) have been cyberbullied” and, “girls are more likely to be targeted”.  Now, more than ever, it is imperative that parents, schools and students understand the importance of online safety and education for responsible technology use, digital citizenship and cyberbullying prevention.

 

The list of annotated resources below are intended to provide parents a starting point in understanding the basics of digital citizenship and online safety for students.  These resources are are very informative and sobering.  We must all be educated and aware in order to ensure that our children are protected when they are using technology.  We cannot take the online safety of our children for granted!  

 

Resource List for Parents

 

1. A great starting point for parents and students is to learn about the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship.  This website is one of many that addresses responsible and appropriate use of technology in today’s online environments.  The themes of digital citizenship are addressed in three categories: Respect, Education and Protect (REP).  While visiting this site, check out the Resources and Publications pages for a wealth of information which will help you talk with your child about Internet safety and responsible use of technology.

 

2. After learning about digital citizenship, visit Netsmartz.org for parents.  This website contains information on current issues. Blogging, social media, cyberbullying, predators, gaming and cell phones are just a few of the topics addressed.  Visiting any of these topics will provide some basic tips and discussions starters you can use with your child to engage in conversations about online safety and responsible technology use.  While visiting Netsmartz.org, look for the videos and presentations on cyberbulling and social media.

 

3. The Cyberbullying Research Center is a resource for parents, students and educators.  Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices”.  As more and more students go online, the boundaries of inappropriate behavior now reach into the virtual world.  This site is a wealth of information and contains data on cyberbullying, resources and reference materials, online presentations and testimonials, as well as a blog for sharing with others regarding current issues.

 

4. VUSD Board Policy 5131.2 and Administrative Regulations 5131.2 address bullying of all kinds and outline the district’s stance on the topic.  These documents provide a definition of bullying, as well as, how the district and staff will promote prevention and intervention of bullying.  Understanding the board policy and administrative regulations on bullying can assist parents in engaging in conversations with their children about appropriate and inappropriate behavior.  Should bullying or cyberbullying be suspected, the district’s process for filing a complaint and the subsequent investigation process are outlined in detail.  It is recommended that parents take some time to get to know these important regulations.

 

5. StopBullying is another informative online resource for parents and educators.  Like the other sites listed above, there are links to information and resources on cyberbullying.  One of the more important links is the Who is at Risk tab.  Knowing and understanding potential risk factors can help parents and educators identify if their students might be targets for cyberbullying.  Being armed with this information will assist everyone in proactively helping children before they are bullied.

 

6. Finally, check out the Common Sense Media webpage.  Information on a host of issues, all media and technology related, is provided in an easy to access format.  According to their mission, Common Sense Media is “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.”  Check out the links for Top Picks and best apps, games and websites for learning.  By ensuring that your child is engaged in using high-quality resources and learning tools, you will  be proactively promoting safe and responsible technology use.