Internet Safety lessons at Virginia Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for

It’s hard to remember a time when the world was not connected by the World Wide Web.  No other technological invention of the modern world has broken newer ground, or touched more lives than the Internet has. It would be impossible to count the number of benefits that going online has brought to us. At the same time the Internet in the wrong hands is a tool for the most harmful and destructive purposes. The recent rise of social networking sites, while they have provided the opportunity to break social barriers and forge friendships, has been especially worrisome to Internet police; they warn of the dangers of these sites to impressionable teenagers.  In a groundbreaking move, the Virginia schools have begun to take steps to educate their students on the importance of safety online.
Virginia Schools put Internet Safety on the Curriculum
With incidences of sex offenders preying on children and youngsters online on the rise, Virginia schools have embarked on a series of measures aimed at helping teens learn to identify the correct protocol while using social networking sites like My Space and Facebook.  With some Virginia schools having entire student populations with their own Facebook or My Space pages, teaching them to monitor their on online activity has become more important than ever.  At Virginia schools guest speakers, usually attorneys or other experts, are being called upon to discuss the nuances of cyber safety.  These experts give valuable advice to students at Virginia schools with regards to Internet safety. For instance, not sharing any personal details with strangers online and not agreeing to meet people you’ve met online in person are just some of the lessons students at Virginia schools will be learning as they begin the new school year.  In doing this Virginia schools become the first in the country to include Internet safety lessons at schools.
The issues of Internet safety plague schools all across the nation as teens get almost unlimited access to the Web. While these efforts at Virginia schools are commendable and will go a long way in educating teens about the dangers that may be lurking online, they should not be the only source of safety information for teens. My Space says it has reduced the incidence of sex offenders stalking its pages, but admits little can actually be done in terms of monitoring who kids are interacting with online. That initiative, Virginia schools say, has to come from the parents.  Because the Internet is a relatively new medium, many parents aren’t comfortable with the thought of discussing Internet safety with their kids. That mindset has to change. No security program can protect kids form dangers online the way parental supervision and monitoring can.