During the month of March, Northwest ISD guidance was focused on internet safety, including the topics of cyber-bullying and sexting (at the secondary levels). The age appropriate curriculum utilized for these topics included presentations and/or lessons from NetSmartz and Common Sense Media. The Northwest ISD Guidance and Counseling Department also hosted Aisha Saleem, Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and Special Agent Johnson from Homeland Security, who spoke to all Medlin Middle School students and all Pike Middle School students in an assembly on these topics. Students were engaged and listening during Ms. Saleem’s and Ms. Johnson’s presentations and the feedback received regarding the assemblies was very positive. Due to snow/ice days in March, Ms. Saleem and Ms. Johnson are re-scheduled to speak at our remaining middle school campuses in May: Chisholm Trail, Tidwell, and Wilson. The parent presentation, Keeping Your Kids Safe Online, was also re-scheduled and will be held May 13th at 7pm at the Northwest ISD Central Administration Building. Please join us for the parent presentation and to continue “Real Talks” of how to keep our kids safe online.
In addition to teaching our kids to use electronic devices to communicate safely and appropriately with those they know, they must beware of those they do not know potentially “lurking” online, too. As you know, online child predators are very real and look for the opportunity to connect with our kids. As a reminder and a resource, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provides a publication titled, “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety.” This publication addresses the following questions:
What are signs that your child might be at risk online?
What should you do if you suspect your child is communicating with a sexual predator online?
What can you do to minimize the chances of an online exploiter victimizing your child?
Here is a direct link to the online site and publication:
To link directly to the PDF:
In addition to instructing our kids regarding online predators, we must also help our kids to understand the potential permanency of what is posted online. Helping our kids to understand their digital footprints is of utmost importance. Information, including words, pictures, and videos, can be saved via a “screen shot,” and even retrieved, if necessary. Our older kids must know that colleges and employers may search social media (or connect with them via social media). Their digital behavior may be evaluated for college admission purposes, scholarships, and even job opportunities. The world is at our fingertips with the internet and social media; however, with this, comes social responsibility in the use of these amazing tools. Please partner with Northwest ISD in continuing “Real Talks” with our kids about internet safety and social responsibility in the use of all technology devices.