A lesson in cyberbullying

Here's a look at how U.S. students are taught about online safety

The seventh-grade classroom at Aptos Middle School buzzed with animated kids, many of whom whispered to friends and shot curious looks at the visitors scattered around their classroom.

Local politicians, the superintendent of schools and media visited the classroom of 25 kids last Friday to watch a special lesson designed to teach children how to protect themselves online. All 55,000 elementary to high school students in San Francisco got the lesson on the same day, part of fulfilling a new requirement to a U.S. law called the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). To get federal funding, public schools have to instruct students how to protect their privacy, avoid cyberbullying and practice ethical behavior online.

You can watch an IDG News Service video of the classroom here.

The U.S. is the only nation that requires online safety instruction at public schools, but other countries may soon join it. The European Commission is mulling over a law that would mandate educating kids about online safety, and in the UK, newly appointed adviser on childhood, Claire Perry, is talking about the need to make online safety part of the public school curriculum.

But much of what is taught about online safety is not rooted in evidence, according to Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, a global organization based in Washington, D.C.

"There's precious little research on the effectiveness of online safety education," said Balkam, who also worries that a fear-based message about the dangers online can overlook the Internet's many benefits.

The U.S. Department of Education cites a 2008-2009 poll that shows 28 percent of students reported being bullied at school, while 6 percent were bullied online.

The next public event to draw attention to kids' use of the Internet is coming up on Feb. 5, when the EU and U.S. will observe Safer Internet Day.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentinternetlegislationChildren

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kerry Davis

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?