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Monday, February 6, 2012

Kids and the Two Sides of Facebook...Feb. 7 is Internet Safety Day

Yesterday I was walking past two boys playing basketball. My guess is that they were about 12 years old and they were having a great time. Laughing and joking around. One of the kids had to leave and as he ran down the street, he yelled back at his friend, "See you online!"

Today I ran across this article regarding the tragedy of a young boy who accidentally shot himself and then what happened on Facebook following the death. It was a series of hurtful comments that got out of control.

Both are examples of how kids' online lives are simply an extension of their offline lives. It's one neighborhood for them. The same rules that apply during a pickup game of basketball should apply online. The same rules that apply to talking to someone in person, should apply online.

Parents and teachers don't have to be online experts to promote the Golden Rule. And just as kids can't raise themselves offline, they often don't know what they're doing online.

So I have a question. Why isn't it a requirement for all students, including and perhaps most importantly, young kids, to have digital citizenship lessons in computer class?

There are some great resources for parents and teachers to help our children learn how to have a safe, happy online life.

Common Sense Media is one of those resources. And check out Technology for Teachers on Safer Internet Day -- tomorrow (February 7th!) They have a fantastic list of online safety resources.

(P.S. Kids are supposed to be 13 to be on Facebook...)

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