Computers in the Bedroom (page 2)
A very important e-Safety tip is to place the primary household computer in a common family area. A computer with an Internet connection in a child's bedroom is an open door to a preventable disaster. Yet, nearly one in ten high school students (9%) and one in twenty middle school students (5%) polled by i-SAFE said they are most likely to use the bedroom computer for unsafe, illegal and inappropriate activities on the Internet. Interestingly, about one parent in ten (8%) revealed that their children's primary computer is in their bedroom.
While these figures may not be overwhelming percentages, when considering the number of American kids and teens online (50 million), the figures become rather alarming. These figures suggest that between 2.5 million and 4.6 million youth have their primary computers in their bedrooms. Everyone who uses the World Wide Web is at risk if they are not armed with e-Safety knowledge and awareness. Kids and teens, already notoriously curious and relatively naïve, are even more at risk of victimization if they are left alone to navigate Cyberspace in the comfort of their own bedrooms.
Internet Rules Established by Parents (Student Perspective)
Internet Rules 62%
No Rules 38%
Internet Rules Established by Parents (Parent Perspective)
Internet Rules 88%
No Rules 12%
In regards to the overwhelming number of students who visit social-networking Web sites or use chat rooms, these figures show that millions of kids and teens are at risk of online victimization, and that a substantial number of parents allow their children to use computers in an environment that invites potential predators into their bedroom. This figure is particularly noteworthy when viewing the discrepancy between parent-administered Internet use rules reported by both students and parents. The discrepancy is shown in the pie charts above.
Responses to i-SAFE assessments and surveys indicate a noticeable gap between parents and children's perceptions about Internet use. Also, while 93% of parents feel they know some or a lot about where their children go or what their children do on the Internet, student responses are quite different. 74% of students surveyed do not share what they do or where they go on the Internet with their parents. 25% of all 5-12 graders report never or rarely discussing e-Safety with their parents.
These figures illustrate that there is a noteworthy disconnect in communication about Internet use among American students and their parents. This communication gap could be a major factor in contributing to continued cases of Internet-related crimes against children. Parents need to open the lines of communication and emphasize to their children that there are many hazards and potentially dangerous people in Cyberspace. Even those people who seem to be friendly may have ulterior motives that could lead to compromising situations. The victims of those situations may not realize they are being victimized until it is too late. Internet use will undoubtedly continue to grow among kids and teens. Based on analysis of pre, post, and outcomes assessments, along with i-SAFE Curriculum lessons, it appears that a combination of an active-learning e-Safety program and open communication among children and their parents appears to be an effective approach to proactively educate and empower Internet users to take control of their online experiences. Communication is the key.
Results from the i-SAFE outcomes assessments show that the overwhelming majority of students who received the i-SAFE lessons and participated in the outcomes assessment survey reported a behavior change by proactively taking empowered steps to help themselves increase their safety and welfare while online. Students participating in the i-SAFE curriculum are increasing e-Safety communications among themselves, their friends, and their families. These communications are the key to maximizing the safety and integrity of their online experiences.
Reprinted with the permission of i-SAFE Inc. © 1998=2008 i-Safe Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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