I was just doing a bit of research on online safety and found some websites with some links. Our youth are getting access to internet more frequently and at younger ages it seems, and I thought some of these might be useful for anyone working with youth that have regular access to internet. I hope this helps some of you.
For my question, what are some of your ideas for giving awareness on internet safety, and how do you feel about the kids using the internet in your presence? How closely do you watch what they're doing, and do you allow chatrooms, msg boards, social networking, etc?
http://www.onguardonline.gov/topics/safety-tips-tweens-teens.aspx (I think this might be the best because it talks about social networking like myspace and facebook)
And some youtube PSAs about content people post on the internet without even knowing..
Thanks to Adam for some helpful websites and the
question on internet safety ...
I suppose the first question is how old are the individuals you are asking about? If they are youth, then there should be limits as to how much time they spend on the computer, as well as what they engage in on the computer. As for kids...is it really necessary to allow chat rooms, MSN etc?
I think it is important to limit internet access and to prevent chat rooms. Firstly, it doesn't promote social aspects of behaviour and secondly, as you stated, it's not safe.
I have teenagers....an effective way is to have the local police liaise officer attend the classrooms to explain the dangers of the internet and the creeps who may prey on children. This was done last week at one of my children's school and it was extremely effective. I think it's effective because we, as parents/caregivers may not understand all the implications of the internet. Here's an example: The police officer explained to the teens to always turn the computer camera away from them when they are online, as creepers can download a program to your computer via Bit Torrent, Facebook, and many others that allows them to see the person on the computer via the camera without the individual realizing this!!!!! One more bit of information I learned through my youth was that there is also a website that creepers have designed called "fuckbook," which happens to imitate Facebook.
So it looks just like Facebook, but when you log into your Facebook account, you can't get in, so you re-enter your user name and password and boom...the creeper now has your username and password!!!!
I work at an after school program and at times I am sent to monitor the computer room. Although I do not personally agree with all the rules of the program I do follow them. Facebook, Youtube, myspace and any similar sites are blocked from use. The staff have encountered problems with children talking about inappropriate content on the site or have looked up inappropriate videos and therefore have blocked everything. The staff seem to believe that if one child misbehaves they take the privilege away from all children.
I personally feel that some of the sites can be very useful for children. Facebook and Myspace can provide children with an opportunity to learn what is socially acceptable and how to interact with their peers. Although there are some videos on Youtube that are not appropriate for all children there are also educational and humorous videos. I think it depends on the setting the children are in that determines what should be allowed.
However I do feel that supervision is important with internet use. Even growing up, the computer was in our downstairs living room so that one of my parents would be around when we were using the computer. Not necessarily standing and watching over our shoulder but they were present and aware of what we were doing on the computer.
I hope you figure out how to best use computers and the internet in your child and youth work!
The age group using the computer is about 12-16. We don't have anyone younger or older really. But I agree that it should be supervised. Most of them only use it to look up things on Youtube... which usually ends up getting turned off by a worker due to the amount of swearing. I'm pretty good with computers and internet safety though, and this one girl is always on Facebook. She actually uses a different name and ended up adding me.
Didn't even realize it was her, which was dangerous for both of us. Anyway. At one point, I was sitting at the table where I'm able to view the computer screen and I caught her on Omegle giving her first name and even what province she lives in. I gave her a speech about it and thought that we should definitely get some internet safety classes here. It's a scary place, and the lack of knowledge in a lot of the people using it makes it worse.
I'd be more comfortable if they weren't allowed to use
Facebook and only have supervised (closely supervised) msn use. Chatrooms
just aren't needed.