2018-01-01 / Community

School’s program is a model for digital safety


I’ve covered many features of the iPhone in this column, including ways to get the most out of your device, but in this column I’m taking a different approach: Safety among school-age kids regarding issues such as cyberbullying, over-sharing, privacy and being good digital citizens.The information is good for their parents as well.

The Community School of Naples is taking this responsibility very seriously, with insight and care. I spoke with Dr. Vivienne Carr, Director of Learning and Technology at CSN, about its Digital Safety and Parental Controls program that aims to educate and protect both parents and students.

The issue is far more complicated than telling kids to put their phones down and go play outside or telling them to be careful where they go online. Cell phones amplify the social pressures and visibility of kids with their instant access, viral reach, exposure to predators and an illusion of anonymity. The school’s program offers advice that applies to all users. It focuses on: Digital responsibility: It teaches students that the rules of human decency and behavior apply and extend to online activities.

Protecting individual privacy: The program encourages students to keep their identities, locations and frequent activities from the eyes of the public, and to secure their passwords. In addition, they are warned to be cautious using public Wi-Fi and to avoid websites that contain malware.

Digital footprint: Students are advised not to post questionable photos of behavior that could impact their futures, for college or professional jobs.

Intellectual property: When students create original and appropriate works (written, photo, video), they’re encouraged to claim them and not to steal others’ works.

CSN has rules for BYOD (bring your own device). Students in eighth grade and younger must keep their devices locked in their lockers during school. Students in grades nine to 12 may carry them but store them in caddies during class, then retrieve them later. These devices are a major distraction to schoolwork as it has been proven that humans do not multi-task well, despite claims to the contrary.

The school’s approach is nurturing and educational. The lessons include both the legal and personal consequences of digital misuse. Cyberbullying is one of those misuses. It is illegal. The consequences can be grave and attacks can scar people for life and may be amplified online. Students are encouraged to be kinder, to stick up for others and in doing so, be that brave person who will garner respect and teach others how to behave better.

Tech Question?

If you have a tech question, email it to capurso@swspotlight.com and John Capurso may answer it in this column.

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