Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Internet Safety Issues: What can librarians do?

The following ideas were brainstormed results from our Oklahoma Library Association sponsored workshop on Internet Safety issues today in Midwest City. I primarily referenced my wiki curriculum “Internet Safety and Social Networking for Parents”, but also referenced resources from “Safe Digital Social Networking (DSN) -or- Proactive Approaches to Address Cyberbullying and Digital Social Networking.” My text notes from Larry Boggess of OSBI’s presentation “Internet Crimes” are available and I will subsequently post the audio recording from his preso here as a podcast. I was thrilled to meet Joel Gabel of Google from their new Pryor/Tulsa office today, and my text notes from his presentation “Internet Safety Issues” are also available.

Top Issues, Concerns and Questions:
1.In a public school teachers have a captive space, in a library kids are not captive – you have to get creative to get kids to participate!
2.How do you keep up?
3.I want kids to be safe online as a parent and librarian, but I am not sure I know how to do that, or my role?
4.balancing safety and access
5.our constituents are our staff, the public, patrons, legislators: educating all about the role of a public library do we get seasoned professionals to see the value? (we referenced the diffusion of innovations graph)
7.Internet is ever changing / dynamic, how can we monitor the changes without becoming obsolete? do we fit this in with how we spend our time at work? (what is appropriate and not appropriate )
9.Classrooms are different: captive audience, year long relationship – librarians are in a different situation, how do we make an impact in our role?
10.Chat rooms and filtering are big issues: want to close down chats in some cases
11.People watching out for the children: it is not part of library policy but is a moral or social issue
12.No cheese with the whine
13.electronic gaming: hard to keep up, kids taking over the computer room
14.people have moved their role (CIPA) from protecting from objectionable content to keeping kids productive / on task
15.importance of boundaries and communication, texting, gaming
16.considering having teens make a social networking account (We discussed how a moderated and managed/controlled social networking environment like could be preferable to just having kids setup a MySpace page. We also discussed the importance of parent permission and getting signed forms for participation from them as well as kids.)
17.we may have to break bad habits
18.boundaries are so important: cell phone example, parents wanting that contact

Internet Safety Education & Outreach Options (menu choices):
1.make it a cause
2.virtual worlds in our summer teens program, could sneak it in!
3.more specific teen programming, giving teens a reason to come (getting teens to teach)
4.setting up a ning or other social network for librarians (
5.workshop for parents on iSafety (maybe PSAs created by the kids and published on YouTube) help participants in workshops process information and ideas: updates that are needed to their computer system (reaching out to seniors)
7.workshop idea: aimed at parents, get knowledgeable speakers, have people give the dark side and scare people, but also look at the good and the positive (don’t just hear 1 side)
8.low tech: provide bookmarks and flyers
9.netiquette class about digital citizenship
10.oral history project idea
11.demand for adult computer classes
13.Celebrate Oklahoma Voices project
14.Genealogy project workshops in the library!

Additional items:
The online timer we used

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3 responses to “Internet Safety Issues: What can librarians do?”

  1. Al Smith Avatar

    As a high school teacher-librarian I completely understand the concerns raised in this thread. Internet safety and access to content is always a tricky balance. Finding methods for reinforcing youth safety is a challenge. The fact that many parents do not utilize their public library or school library is part of this challenge.
    Sometimes our board of education blocks but mostly in high school it is open via a proxy/firewall but the real power is in developing a workplace culture that is conscious and encouraging. We try very hard to make our school library a place of interaction, service and scholarship. The school library staff is deliberately available for service but we are also supervising. I think that sets the tone of behavour online as much as anything.

    Almost all our inapropriate online actvity has actually been sourced back to unsupervised home computers. I offer workshops each year and onliy get a few parents. I hold a session on digital cameras and get plenty. We do not like dealing with the messy things in life. We should. Whether smoking, bullying, or internet ethics, we( the entire community including parents) need to engage our youth in the discussion and not be afraid to say NO or STOP! Teens get it!

  2. Luke Gilkerson Avatar

    There are some great suggestions here! Thanks for the info.

    Did you know that the largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17?

    According to the second Youth Internet Safety Survey there is a documented increase in the proportion of kids reporting unwanted exposure to pornography.

    I’d love to hear your comments on some blog posts I published a while back about cyberbullying and online predators:

    1. Safety Tips for Parents:
    2. Online Predators:
    3. Cyberbullying:

    I’m curious: have you heard of the Covenant Eyes filter and accountability programs? What makes them unique is that it gives you the option to simply monitor your Internet surfing, filter it, or both. A good filtering program is very helpful for children and families, but a good monitoring program is great for adults and children alike who want to be accountable to others about where they go online. If you want to know more, read up on it at: