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A digital citizen is one who knows what is right and wrong, exhibits intelligent technology behavior, and makes good choices when using technology. Too often we see students, as well as adults, misusing and abusing technology. In Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, we believe it is a collaborative responsibility of the student, family, and district to educate children on how to be good digital citizens.
Intentional, frequent discussions with your child of any age, are necessary and allow you to be proactive in protecting your child and further educating him/her. Experts warn that children are most vulnerable to online dangers while at home. Please note the following suggestions as they might be of assistance in further educating your child about appropriate use of technology including the device and home Internet use.
In alignment with the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy beyond school, parents must take responsibility for the use of technology and the Internet. As a parent, you are responsible for monitoring your child’s use of district-provided educational technology including district-issued email and cloud accounts as well as the Internet. This includes internet use at home or any other remote location outside of school. Please establish clear and consistent expectations and rules for home use of technology.
A Web filter is a program that can screen an incoming website to determine whether some or all of it should not be displayed to the user. A Web filter allows a school district or a family to block certain websites that may be offensive, profane, vulgar or harmful to students.
The Internet used at school is protected, as required by federal law, by a filtering service. School-owned Chromebooks are protected through Securly. Securly is a filtering/compliance software that works with our Chromebooks. While many potential dangers are filtered and blocked on the school’s wireless network and on school owned devices, children often have complete, unrestricted access to inappropriate sites at home through personal devices. No filtering software is perfect and monitoring internet use at home is advisable.
It is important that families understand that school owned devices are filtered through the district internet even when used at home. If you have family owned devices, we strongly suggest installing software to filter and block inappropriate content on your home wireless network. So what are you to do?
Families have a number of options to protect their children at home.
- Most Internet Service Providers can filter your home internet for you. Simply call your Internet Service Provider and make this request. Usually, you will be provided with a scale of maturity levels to choose from. Xfinity Parent Controls, Centurylink Parent Controls, Frontier Parent Controls
- Families without this option, or those that would like more control over what content is blocked or not can consider Cisco Umbrella, McAfee Safe Family, and NetNanny.
- Some of these products offer additional protection features such as cell phone filtering, text message and photo screening tools, and digital footprint/reputation monitoring.
Families can protect children while on their smartphones as well. There are many apps and services including:
- Restrictions for iPhone
- Kid Friendly Android
- Bark - Monitor, detect, and sends alerts for 21 social media sites (paid for service)
- Circle - Monitor, detect, alert (paid for service)
Regularly share your expectations with your child about accessing only appropriate sites and content, as well as being a good person when online (even when parents aren't watching). Understand that your child’s use of many technologies (such as computers, devices, iPods, video game systems, and cell phones) likely gives your teen the ability to connect to unfiltered public wireless networks (such as in a library or coffee shop, by picking up a neighbor’s wireless signal, or connecting to the Internet through a cell service). Therefore, it is important to maintain regular, open dialog about Internet use and access. Discuss your expectation for appropriate use and behavior.
Monitor & Limit Screen Time
Experts suggest having teens surf the Internet in a central place at home, such as the kitchen or family room, rather than away from adult supervision or behind a closed door. Know what your child is doing with technology and how his or her time is being spent. Technology can be a great tool and resource, but also has the potential to be a big distractor. Help your child learn to focus on completing tasks or assignments prior to engaging in other Internet activities. Teaching today’s children how to manage multiple sources of information and potential distractions is a critical life skill, one best learned before heading off to college or the workplace.
Put the device to Bed, But Not in the Bedroom
Parenting experts suggest parking all technology devices, from cell phones to laptop devices, in a common family room overnight to discourage late night, unmonitored use and sleep disruption. Don’t allow your child to sleep with the device. Remember to model appropriate use and balance of technology in your own life as well.
Media Agreements are a resource and checklist that parents can use to guide conversations with their kids about media use. They are designed to help parents establish guidelines and expectations around media use and behavior that are right for their family. Some families are comfortable using them as signed agreements. Others refer to them to use simply as a checklist to guide conversations. Either way, they are a great way to help parents and kids get on the same page about media and technology use.
Take time to review these Family Media Agreements and discuss them with your child:
Find more great tips and resources at Common Sense Media.
Regularly check your child’s privacy settings on all commonly used sites and networks. Ignoring privacy settings on sites like Facebook means your teen's photos, contact information, interests, and possibly even cell phone GPS location could be shared with more than a half-billion people. Remind your child:
- Anything they do or post online creates a digital record, often called a "Digital Footprint” or a “Digital Tatoo." Nothing online is totally private, even if it is intended to be. Once digitized, it can be saved, sent and reposted elsewhere.
- A good rule of thumb: If you don’t want a parent, teacher, principal, future employer or college admissions office to know something, don’t post it online. Set up some sort of test question to frequently ask your child, such as “Would Grandma approve?”
- "Friends" aren’t always who they say they are. Encourage your child to only be friends online with friends they know in person. Never give access to personal information to people met online.
- Never post personally identifiable information online. This includes: full name, address, phone number, email, where you are meeting friends or where you hang out. Discuss with your child how easy it is for someone to find you based on what you post online.
- Cyberbullying (threatening or harassing another individual through technology) is a growing concern for today’s youth. It takes many forms, such as forwarding a private email, photo, or text message for others to see, starting a rumor, or sending a threatening or aggressive message, often anonymously. Talk with your child about not partaking in this behavior and encourage her/him to report incidents of cyberbullying to an adult.
Parenting in the Digital Age can be difficult in part because our children are so much more comfortable in the online environment than adults. Here are some helpful resources to help.