Bluffs Workshops teach kids to be safer when interacting online

News

October 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A program designed to help young internet users stay safe online was the subject of a workshop last night (Tuesday) for parents and students in Council Bluffs. Shannon Seeger, spokeswoman for the Internet Keep Safe Coalition or i-Keep-Safe, says children are growing up in a world where their social life is coordinated through interactions on-line or through a cell phone. Seeger says kids need to be reminded how to act and interact. “Keeping and maintaining a positive reputation, keeping your personal information to yourself, also, when you interact with people, how to be a citizen about it,” she says.

Children need to be aware of predators, cyber-bullying, harassment and other threats. While the Internet can be a great place to connect with friends, Seeger says some people use social networking sites to humiliate and degrade others. “It doesn’t just deal with bullying, it’s harassment of all kinds, child-to-child harassment, parent-on-teacher, child-on-teacher,” she says. “There are many, many different variations on cyber-bullying.”

Seeger says there are increasing reports of children missing school, dropping out and event taking their own lives because of non-stop bullying. “One-million children were cyber-bullied last year on Facebook alone,” she says. “That doesn’t take into count all of the other social media and all the networking and messaging that children are doing back and forth.”

The first workshop Tuesday in Council Bluffs was for teachers only and was directed at helping to teach their students to be responsible online. The second workshop last night was for parents and students, urging them to start their own at-home programs for safe, healthy and ethical internet use. Learn more at: www.ikeepsafe.org

(Radio Iowa)