Mobile applications and social networks are making it easier to communicate with friends and strangers, leaving students vulnerable to cyberbullying, pornography, connecting with online predators and pedophiles as well as participating in discussions about suicide and abuse.
An ongoing Gaggle video series, “Real Students. Real Stories.” explains how Gaggle Safety Management helps uncover drug use, bullying, threats of school violence, teen depression, suicidal intentions, abusive domestic situations and more, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Our team has a very difficult job, yet each member is passionate about helping to protect your students. But safety controls and monitoring content are not enough. Here are some additional ways to make sure your students are safe when taking the digital leap.
1. Become familiar with Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
The Children’s Internet Protection Act was created to protect children from encountering obscene or harmful content. Everyone should be familiar with CIPA, especially when choosing digital content and tools for your classrooms.
2. Adopt a safety policy.
Determine how you will manage students’ access to the Internet and how you will restrict their access to inappropriate content. Your safety policy should also include how you handle unauthorized access and how you manage student and teacher data.
3. Make digital citizenship is part of your curriculum. Adding digital citizenship to your curriculum will provide students with the skills they need to be responsible online, including understanding online safety, online privacy, managing their reputation and more. You can start by checking out the Cyber Civics curriculum offered on this site.
4. Learn the pros and cons of each social network. Understanding the benefits and pitfalls of the social networks students use allows you to create strategies to leverage them while keeping students safe.
Kathy Boehle is Manager, Gaggle Safety Management. She has worked with various law enforcement agencies in her role as the manager of the U.S. fraud department for an online electronics company. Kathy also works with a variety of sources, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and law enforcement agencies, to find the best methods to ensure student safety.