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Should 'Internet Safety' Be Taught At School?

Fishtree Education

The most widely used Internet safety education (ISE) programs in the US combine messages about any or all of the following topics: cyberbullying, problematic content (e.g., videos of fights, inappropriate pictures), internet predators, sexting, spam, e-theft, and illegal downloading.

But can we really call it Internet Safety? Shouldn't we teach the skills of today’s very social digital media: digital literacy, media literacy and social literacy, and leave the rest for prevention programs?

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  • Alessandra RizzottiAlessandra Rizzotti

    I think digital literacy and internet safety are one in the same. I don't think they're two separate issues.

    • Alessandra RizzottiAlessandra Rizzotti

      One more thing- sadly, internet culture these days is making it acceptable to want attention via sexting, etc., so maybe we should address the culture of the internet in education? Much like how theater and the arts is taught in school, there's a side to the internet- like the culture of memes, creating internet personalities, that can be oddly creative, and profitable.

      • Fishtree EducationFishtree Education

        Good point. Internet takes a big part of our daily lives and I hope to see digital citizenship welcomed to schools in the near future. The course could teach not only how to be literate online but also foster students' critical thinking. Although who should be responsible for creating a new curricula? What does it mean to be a good citizen in todays' tech savvy world? Digital citizenship is a complex topic.

        As this article suggests, why not separate "Internet safety" from other digital citizenship topics and start teaching digital literacy first?

        • Alessandra RizzottiAlessandra Rizzotti

          But like driving, you should always know about the safety precautions you need to take before you get behind the wheel. Just a thought. Being informed before you jump in is usually key for doing well.