ACSI is proud to be sponsoring the 2018 ATLE Professional Development Day for Alberta School Zones 2 & 3 on May 18th in Edmonton. As it is coming up, it is prudent to explore what IT administrators, educators, and parents can do to make the digital world safer for children.
At the end of 2017, UNICEF released a report about making the digital world safer for children. According to the report, too little is done to safeguard children’s access to the internet. With the emergence of more technology in schools, educators, parents, and IT personnel are finding it difficult to make the digital world safer for children at school and outside of it.
Children have unlimited access to the world wide web not only through laptop computers or desktop computers, but through tablets and cell phones. This non-stop access has made internet security a priority for many IT administrators at schools. Moderate use of the internet is an advantage to children’s mental well-being, but too much or too little use can be a detriment to their development.
To make the digital world safer for children, educators and parents need to protect children from abuse online.
With the prevalence of cyberbullying and the misuse of children’s private information to online sexual abuse and exploitation protecting children is paramount.
Protecting children from these online threats can be achieved by encouraging students to speak with you about bullying behaviour and limiting their time online. This won’t solve the problem, but it will mitigate the potential for the risk.
Whether it be installing security software or limiting children’s time online, it is important to implement these safeguards to make the internet safe for children.
Another tactic is to educate parents, teachers, and children on the dangers of internet usage.
Children – especially older children – are often unsupervised when browsing the web. Parents need to know the correlation between children’s emotional and mental well-being and their internet use. Digital addiction is possible in children and the lasting effects of screen time on a developing brain can have long-lasting effects.
Teaching parents about inappropriate internet usage will encourage them to speak with their children about these dangers, which will hopefully keep the kids safe at school and at home.
Digital literacy keeps children informed, engaged, and safe online. Including this as part of a school’s curriculum is one way in which educators can create a safe digital world for their students.