The issue of safety and privacy is a serious one. It directly effects the way in which technology is implemented into the classroom as there must be checks and balances put into place to combat these risks. One of the risks to safety and privacy is social media. Although many schools prohibit the use of social media such as Facebook, many students still access it through their phones during school hours. Students run the risk of being targeted by online predators. I think the idea of banning social media all together is not going to work, as technology and social media is ubiquitous in today’s society with 68% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 on a social network and 93% of 5 to 15 year olds on the internet(Baghurst, Alexander & Tapps 2014). and therefore a blanket approach of banning access to these sites will just not work.
One way to combat this would be through education. By teaching students to be good digital citizens, and learn responsible behaviour while online, the teacher is providing the student with tools to protect themselves from predators. Strategies such as being careful with private information, never agreeing to meet with people online and always reporting to the teacher or their parents anyone who is trying to encourage them to do so will help protect students (Roblyer & Doering ).
On the U.S Government website IPredator there are fifty strategies for parents and educators to address the issue of online predators. The vast majority of these involve the parent or teacher sitting down with the child and having a frank discussion about the prevalence and motivations of internet predators, such as the concepts of grooming, targeting teenagers who are struggling with their sexuality and the manipulative nature of online predators. While frank discussions can be useful, they have to be age appropriate, and may not work for younger students who have not developed enough to handle these issues.
In a 2014 study conducted in a Midwestern American highschool it was found that the biggest causes of children contacting and engaging with sexual predators was lack of parental supervision and the child feeling lonely with low self-esteem and wanting to connect with someone(Baghurst, Alexander & Tapps 2014). I think that there are a number of strategies that can start to address these issues. I think that there needs to be far more communication between teachers, parents and students in regards to netiquette and child safety. I also think that there should be more of a focus on mental health issues and sexuality in regards to the internet in health classes as the report recommended.
Finally I found a great resource on the Victoria State Government website which provides classroom resources for teachers, with quizzes and information about all aspects of digital privacy and cyberbullying. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/support/Pages/safeandresponsibleuse.aspx
Alexander.r, Baghurst.T & Tapps. T (2014) Ways to protect Students from Online Predators Academic Exchange Quarterly, Vol.18 no.1
Ipredator.inc (2017) Retrieved from https://www.ipredator.co/online-predator-prevention/
Roblyer, M., & Doerin, A. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International, (6th ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited