Park City Utah

September 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am so glad that schools are becoming pro-active when it come to cyber safety and how it effects the school system. I noticed that they are bringing in a local detective to talk to the kids but come on….You HAVE to HAVE KDCOP come out and do a few shows.

Summit County schools teach Internet safety
Administrators respond to increased student access to technology
Douglas Greenwood, Park Record
Posted: 09/29/2010 11:36:43 AM MDT

Click photo to enlargeStudents at Ecker Hill Middle School line the hallways with their computers before classes begin…«1» Student access to technology increases continually in schools and as that technology becomes more prevalent, issues of safety linger ever-present in the minds of administrators. Every parent and student should know what schools in the area do to make sure no one is abusing the opportunity to use this technology.

Researchers with http://www.internetsafety.com released a brief questionnaire outlining five questions a parent should ask the school his or her child attends. Questions deal with access to technology, cyber-bullying, interactions between teachers and students on social networking sites, cell phone use and filters in school.

Student Access

Throughout the county, schools typically have three or four labs, each with about 30 computers. Students can only access them when accompanied by their teachers. Teachers and other administrators monitor computer activity closely to ensure no student misuses the equipment.

Filters

The three Summit County districts filter all computer-accessible content. But, according to South Summit Superintendent Barry Walker, “The biggest protection you have is an alert teacher.”

Blocked sites include social networking, video streaming and those with vulgar or suggestive content. There are ways to gain access to inappropriate content despite the network filter in schools, however.

“No filters are perfect,” said Mike Kisow of the Park City School District. “We do not want

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it to be a substitute.” Parents and teachers need to work together to maintain a safe environment for students, he added.
Cell phones

Schools have all but put a blanket ban on cell phones within the walls of the school. While some schools allow students to use them at lunchtime and before or after classes, other administrators will confiscate them if they see them at all.

Cell phones are deeply connected to all other topics in the Internet safety questionnaire because of their many functions and capabilities. They now have all the functionality of a computer, according to South Summit Middle School teacher Rob Davis.

Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying goes hand-in-hand with cell phone use in South Summit Schools, according to Superintendent Walker. When cell phones were banned, administrators noticed a significant decrease in cyber-bullying in the high school, he said.

The elementary counselor visits each classroom and teaches students about all aspects of bullying and it is addressed specifically in a middle school assembly at the beginning of each year.

Most policies in the Park City district are school-specific and address bullying at schools. Administrators said they clearly identify cyber-bullying as part of that. If a student feels threatened while at school by something that happens in class or at home on Facebook, school authorities will intervene, said Andy Coleman of Treasure Mountain Middle School.

Social networking

South Summit schools do not have a policy banning social networking between teachers and students. However, teachers are warned about potential dangers and encouraged not to network personally, Walker said.

The Park City school board is working toward creating a policy that addresses student-teacher interactions online, according to Patrick Ogden of the Park City School District.

High access

Because students at Ecker Hill have their own laptops, Internet safety classes are slightly more in-depth than at other schools. Teachers regularly review cyber-bullying and guidelines for personal information during portions of required classes to ensure every student participates.

Community outreach

Knowing how much access and how teachers use technology in the classroom allows parents to be more involved with their children’s safe education. Ecker Hill will be offering three community Internet safety classes throughout the year.

The first of these classes is scheduled for Wednesday Oct. 6 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School. Since children at the middle school have regular classes during school, the first meeting is designed for parents only, said Detective Kacey Keisel. “We do ask parents not to bring their children to this parent night,” she said. “It discusses some serious things.”

The class will discuss what can happen in a worst-case scenario because of careless Internet use. Detective Keisel will show portions of documentaries featuring first-hand accounts from both victims and Internet predators. The seminar is open to all who want to participate.

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