Technology continues to move our society forward at a rapid pace. It is imperative that we teach our students to use technology in a safe and appropriate way. The following information was presented to our students and parents by Deb McCoy.
1. Technology is not the enemy. Student technological proficiency will be essential for their future success. It is our job to teach them the appropriate way to make good digital choices.
2. Manage your child’s electronic life as you would other aspects of their life. Where are they going? Who are they with? What are they doing?
3. Kids are engaging in technology-based activities out of parental sight. Common tips are to put computers in common areas, store cell phones and IPODS out of bedrooms when kids are to be asleep, and please read their text messages and Facebook pages.
4. People feel they can hide behind technology. People say things that they would not normally do in a personal interaction. J.C. Watts stated that “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”
5. Be cautious when you hit send. Anything in writing could come back to haunt you in the future. Law enforcement has a very easy time obtaining text messages and an even easier time obtaining Facebook images. Employers and college admission officers are frequently examining technological habits by utilizing archive sites.
6. Anything in print is permanent, no matter how much you may think you deleted it, or established the privacy settings. Privacy is an illusion, not a reality. Facebook is a public site (You agree to a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content you post.”) What is the image you want to portray of yourself? Do your text messages and Facebook pages display your true, best character?
7. Illegal electronic speech, such as harassment, bullying, threats, and sexting, pose a much greater risk for our students than child predators on the internet.
8. Electronic harassment is defined as repeated, unsolicited contact by electronic means with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm. Law enforcement and the judicial system decide if this behavior is a misdemeanor or a felony under “criminal conduct via communication device.”
9. Sharing, possessing, or distributing sexually explicit pictures of anyone under age 18 is a crime, called sexting, and is currently being prosecuted as a felony.
10. Good kids can make poor choices. It is our job to help students learn from their mistakes and hold them accountable for their behavior.