Protecting from Sexting (and other such ills of the technological world of today)

How can teachers and parents ensure the safety of their children while they are utilizing the tools of media literacy — cell phones, computers, social media sites …. ?

First, parents and teachers must be aware of how children most use technology.  McEntegart (2010) shows the demographics of how 11-year-olds use their cell phones:

Picture 3

Using this information, parents and teachers are better equipped to speak to children about appropriate uses of such technologies.  Organizations like the National PTA , The Wireless Council and the National Crime Prevention Council provide information, pamphlets and agreements to aid parents in teaching media responsibility to children.   Teachers can play a significant role in ensuring that parents receive this information, which includes:

  1. Learning how to use and utilize cell phones and technology alongside your children, discussing which features you do and do not want them to use.
  2. Monitoring cell phone bills to know what type of activities/applications your child is utilizing.
  3. Creating a media use contract that allows parents to clearly outline their expectations of their children’s usage, such as:
  • following school rules about cell phones
  • not using a phone or social media to share photos that might embarrass self or others
  • not sending or forwarding hurtful messages about others
  • not subscribing or downloading data without parental permission
  • talking to parents about situations or messages that are received that make you uncomfortable
  • only contacting people that you personally know
  • informing parents of strangers who try to contact you
  • staying within usage limits

Another good way that teachers can help children learn and understand the impact of utilizing social media in inappropriate ways is by utilizing videos, ads and commercials in the classroom like the following:

It is important for children to learn how to use current technologies, but it is equally important for them to be safe as they do so.  These resources are a good start in aiding parents and teachers in encouraging children to use computers, cell phones, ipods, et cetera, in a healthy way.

“Cell Phone Safety Tips”. National PTA:everychild.onevoice. Accessed 29 Nov 2010 at http://www.pta.org/topic_cell_phone_safety_tips.asp

“Get Wise About Wireless” . The Wireless Foundation and The National Crime Prevention Council.  2009.  Accessed 29 Nov 2010 at http://www.ncpc.org/resources/enhancement-assets/publications-non-ncpc/2009-get-wise-about-wireless-resources/RWIRE09-PARENT.pdf

McEntegart, Jane.  “One Third of 11-Year-Olds have cell phones.” Tom’s Guide US.  20 Jan 2010.  Accessed 29 Nov 2010 at http://www.tomsguide.com/us/U.S.-Cell-Phones-Children-Kids,news-5603.html

“Think Before You Post/Sex Texting Sexting PSA Video”. rosaryfilms.  5 Dec 2009.  Accessed 29 Nov 2010 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhBknvwgfmk

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