Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

A Common Sense Approach to Internet Safety

I’m presenting at the library this evening in Weatherford, Oklahoma, about safe online social networking and Internet safety for educators and parents. I ran across the video “A Common Sense Approach to Internet Safety” from Common Sense Media and Google today as I collected my thoughts and resources for tonight’s presentation. I’m downloading and converting the video to my Macbook’s hard drive for offline access in Weatherford now using TubeTV. (free)

I agree with all the main points of this video regarding Internet safety and social networking. These include:

  • Parents should set set time and place limits for “screen time” each day for their children. (Some groups cited in the video recommend 1-2 hours of total screen time per day per child.)
  • Enable “strict filtering” on Google on each computer children/students use.
  • Discuss accountability for behavior, both online and offline. Utilize the “history” tab of your web browser.
  • Discuss and teach kids not to identify and “tag” photos they post to social networks of their friends.
  • Teach about stranger danger appropriately, both online and offline.
  • Teach kids how to flag objectionable content when they encounter it online on sites like YouTube, and what to do when they encounter objectionable content.
  • Teach media literacy skills!

How refreshing to find a well-crafted movie on Internet safety that shares a balanced approach. There are several things I would add to this list, but overall this is a GREAT introduction to an Internet safety conversation. I think parents need to be aware of kids’ abilities to “clear” a web browser history, and be informed about network level accountability and filtering tools like OpenDNS. This video provides a great foundation for conversations about multiple topics related to Internet safety, however.

I am planning to show the US Ad Council’s “Delete Cyberbullying” video to my audience first this evening, followed by Social Networking in Plain English. We’ll then watch this video, “A Common Sense Approach to Internet Safety.”

I’ve added it to my “Videos for PD” page under the category “Cyberbullying Prevention, Internet Safety, Safe Online Social Networking.” I love being able to utilize videos like this for professional development, not because I’m lazy and couldn’t say these things myself– but because I think they provide powerful object lessons for the ways digital media can be used appropriately to support learning and understanding. Most adults need more experiences in formal learning contexts where digital media is used effectively to support focused learning. Most adults alive today didn’t have many of those experiences in the 20th century.

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8 responses to “A Common Sense Approach to Internet Safety”

  1. Rick Tanski Avatar

    Sorry Wes, I think you may have missed the point in general. Internet safety is about web (blockers) filters, ignorance, fear, and control: see If we use common sense, what would we spend out technology dollars on? What about the filter administrator’s job? I’m thinking about getting a street filter for kids. I mean, have you heard about them newfangled things called cars?! More kids die and suffer injuries in those things every day that all the evils purported online.

    Seriously, though, we educate our kids about driving and swimming and skiing and sports safety and on and on. We don’t actively, as a culture, prevent their access to these (arguably more) risky activities. If we did, we’d certainly see rights infringement lawsuits everywhere!

    Why is it such a struggle to get people to understand that purposeful, relevant education is the key? The higher we build walls of ignorance, fear, and control, the more we encourage kids to go over, around, under, and through those walls to see what we’re hiding. By forbidding and blocking, we are actually encouraging the improper behaviors we are trying to prevent. It’s probable that someone will read into this that we should improperly expose kids to inappropriate stuff; that’s not the point. Your post (and the several others) here are examples of thoughtful, proactive approaches. However, I’m not sure we’ll be able to overcome the pandering hysteria behind CIPA and the Dateline-ish culture that has grown up around that kind of hysteria.

  2. Tracy Weeks Avatar

    Speaking of Internet Safety, I just wrote a poem about school web filtering:

  3. Ian Avatar

    I tried following the link to the cyberbullying video but it seems that it has been taken off due to terms of use violations.



  4. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    That is strange. Here is a link that works for that video, I’ll fix my previous one both on this post and my Videos for PD page:

  5. AllanahK Avatar

    Thanks for the video- I am facilitating a parent afternoon of cyber-safety next week and will use the video as a discussion starter.

    Children have just started created content on the net and some parents are concerned about the unknown- media hype has made some very wary. Some are even forbidding their children to use computers at all. Quite an uphill journey to have them accept the 21st century is here whether they like it or not.

  6. Thomas Anglero Avatar

    Hi Wes,

    You should spend sometime reading about WiHood ( ). A virtual desktop service for children that has integrated a very advanced web filter. WiHood’s focus is to close the digital divide so all children grow up with the opportunity to have a PC with all the necessary software included but without the financial burden and simultaneously, a web filter to make sure they are protected while surfing.

    Nothing will ever replaces the parent, nothing! Technology like WiHood is probably the best overall solution for kids and parents. A traditional web filter service doesn’t work with today’s sophisticated young people and their lives. That model of business is permanently broken!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope WiHood can make a difference for you as it has done for families all over the world.

    Thomas F. Anglero, CEO

  7. […] Safety – […]

  8. Alex Delaforce, Head eLearning Avatar
    Alex Delaforce, Head eLearning

    This comment will make me seem like a prudish wowser, however…..
    I think it is a shame that to make this valuable video available to parents without subjecting them to poor language and ill-considered comments on the youtube page, I cannot merely mention the link in a newsletter or school podcast. I realize that we live in a big, diverse and adult world with many views and standards but I despair at the way powerful, engaging web-based tools too easily become unusable because the content ‘contributed’ by casual site users does not exhibit appropriate community standards.

    I will be using the video with my school but will need to download it.

    Thanks for the link to the video