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Creating a better internet - and how Impero can help

Creating a better internet – and how Impero can help

02/11/2020

Feb. 11, 2020 is Safer Internet Day, a day recognized in more than 100 countries to raise awareness of online issues such as cyberbullying and to discuss ways of creating a better internet. Led by ConnectSafely in the United States, Safer Internet Day’s goal is to create “a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.”

At Impero Software, we believe creating a better internet for students starts with the adults. Adults must ensure that their children and students have the knowledge and skills to use the internet responsibly and to stay safe in the process. Internet safety starts at home, but schools are also an important piece of the puzzle, especially as the use of technology in schools grows. Consider these statistics:

  • According to gov, 95% of American youth ages 12-17 use the internet and according to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online. Those numbers break down to six hours for children who are eight to 12 and 50 minutes for children 8 and younger.
  • In two separate studies, about 15% of students reported being cyberbullied, according to stopbullying.gov.
  • Among U.S. teens that use social media, 88% witness mean or cruel behavior, 67% observe others joining in those negative behaviors, and 21% admit to joining in at least once in a while, according to gov.

3 ways you can start creating a better internet

Here are some ways schools can promote the creation of a better, safer internet.

1. Teach digital citizenship

ConnectSafely offers lesson plans to help students discuss the positive and negative aspects of the internet and how to improve it. Impero created a white paper on this topic. Among the things schools can do:

  1. Talk about cyberbullying. What is it and what should students do if they see it?
  2. Discuss the permanency of students’ digital footprints. Provide examples of how a social media post can have lasting consequences down the road and even get someone fired from a job or prevent them from getting into the college they want.
  3. Talk about media literacy. Discuss the abundance of fake news available on the internet and teach students how to spot it, how to vet it, and how to prevent it from being shared.
  4. Discuss the importance of protecting personal information. This includes protecting personal data, as well as being cautious about who students are sharing information with online.

Parents can teach digital citizenship too by having family discussions about digital safety and civility.

2. Highlight positive uses of technology

For example, show students social media campaigns in which groups have leveraged the power of the internet to rally for a good cause. Encourage students to take advantage of the connectivity of the internet to do good in their community.

3. Monitor students’ online activity

For parents, this means having frequent, open conversations about how their children are using the internet. They can follow their children’s social media accounts, ask their children which apps they use and talk to them about how to protect their privacy and safety on those apps. Parents should know the passwords for their child’s email and social media accounts.

For schools, this means paying attention to how students are using their devices while on the school network. They can use monitoring software to keep an eye on students’ activity. For example, teachers can see whether students are doing research for their upcoming book report or scrolling through social media sites.  This promotes conversations about responsible and safe internet use and also keeps the students on task.

How does Impero support internet safety?

Impero’s classroom management software helps teachers monitor students’ online activity by allowing them to view thumbnail images of students’ screens so they can keep students on track. Impero also works with advocacy groups to create libraries of keywords on everything from radicalization to self-harm. School personnel can opt to receive alerts if students are typing or searching for keywords that could indicate concerning online behavior.

Creating a safer internet is everyone’s responsibility. To get involved in Safer Internet Day, visit https://saferinternetday.us and watch on social media for the hashtag #SID2020.

For more information about Impero and how it supports internet safety, visit www.imperosoftware.com.

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