Sunday, June 15, 2008

Newspaper tries to explain Internet safety on kids' page

The Washington Post today, Sunday June 15, included as its “Mini Page” for kids a cartoonish four-page “Stay Safe in Cyberspace.” It is written in simple language, about seventh grade, but repeats all of the common advice that has become so familiar.

It does advise “don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother or future boss to see.” Yet, I don’t know if the typical early middle schooler has a concept of future employment, and can grasp the idea that, if a site is public, anyone in the solar system can see it (at the speed of light) and that search engines can find it.

The back page does explain the concept of cyberbullying, which, again, may a difficult concept to grasp at first until the kid has seen this behavior in the real world.

Another important aspect of kid safety online could be "accountability", which can be implemented by new software packages that inform parents continually about what their kids are doing online, as discussed in the COPA/filter/labeling blog (see Profile) Friday.

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