Internet Safety for All GradesAt New Providence Middle School, seventh-grade students in Mr. Murphy"s health classes are identifying prevention techniques on how to keep themselves and others from being bullied online. As part of the lesson, students were presented with a cyberbullying scenario between two students. Students were asked to identify how the cyberbullied student felt and what prevention techniques they could use to keep from being bullied online. The lesson is part of an Internet Safety Program put in place this year to teach students about the dangers of online communication and the importance of being safe on the Internet.
Internet Safety lessons, which include materials from the national organization iSAFE, have by provided with funds donated by the Junior League of Summit. The district is incorporating Internet Safety lessons into the classrooms throughout the district schools for grades K-12. Lessons are being presented to both classroom teachers and their students guided by a district team of school guidance counselors, library media specialists, and technology specialists. Lesson topics include cyber community citizenship, cyberbullying, and intellectual property.
Internet safety is very important to staff in New Providence Schools. According to Department Head of Technology and Information Services, Sandra Andersen, “It"s important to empower teaching professionals to handle internet safety issues,” she argues, “because all teachers are often in the best position to discuss the dangers of online harassment, to educate students on how to interact appropriately online, as well as how to demonstrate how to use online resources appropriately.”During the lesson, students also had a chance to identify the text message abbreviations they use and how they use them with the people they communicate with. Middle School Guidance Counselor Kim Chrisostomides pointed out that some of the abbreviations they text can be misinterpreted. She said, “Technology has that anonymity factor — not being face-to-face removes certain social cues. And in the case of Cyberbullying, it doesn't end when students leave school.”