Important Cyber Safety Workshop at MBS on November 8

On Tuesday, November 8, Malletts Bay School will host Technicool, a program of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. Technicool is a technology safety program designed for students in grades 4–8, and November 8′s event at MBS will cover cyberbullying and online predators along with a host of other important topics. The workshop will run from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and it is open to any parent in the CSD community, not just parents of MBS students. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP by an extended date of November 3; please call (802) 264-5900.

To view an informational flyer about the workshop, click here.

As is explained on Principal Julie Benay’s blog, the Vermont Technology Grade Expectations outline major focus areas in education, and among them are digital citizenship and technology operations and concepts. (The entire school district, in fact, is directing concentrated effort and focus upon promoting and supporting the use of technology as an educational tool through a variety of means, including the development of a new technology committee.) As technology in our classrooms increases, so, too, does our need to teach not only safe and responsible use of it but also the risks associated with it.

Statistics around cyber safety and young people are alarming. Among them, from a US Department of Justice website discussing youth Internet safety, are as follows:

* One in four youths receive unwanted exposure to inappropriate photography in a one-year period
* One in five youths receive inappropriate solicitations over the Internet in a one-year period
* Only a fraction of these incidents are reported to authorities

Online predators have unprecedented access to potential victims, making due diligence and careful education about electronic media safety all the more important. Among the statistics published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz educational program are as follows:

* 93 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 go online
* 73 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have cell phones, sending and receiving 1,500 text messages per month
* One in three young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced online harassment (and girls are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying)

Numerous resources explaining and promoting online safety, especially as related to kids, are available online. Net Cetera is a great resource, as is the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) issue brief for educators and caregivers about electronic media and youth violence.

For more information, please e-mail Principal Julie Benay. Again, please call (802) 264-5900 to RSVP by November 3. The Technicool workshop will start at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8 at Malletts Bay School.

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