The Internet is a part of our kids' lives. It opens a world of entertainment and communication, and at the same time provides access to people and web sites that can expose children to age-inappropriate content and risky social contacts. We believe that parent involvement and communication are key to keeping kids safe online. This isn't just a school responsibility but a collaboration between home and school. We believe in media sanity, not censorship. We cannot always be with our children and we can't always be there to protect them. We have to teach them how to effectively and safely use these online resources. These resources are valuable to their educational work and functioning as technology literate students and citizens. We welcome your comments and questions.
Curriculum: online safety is a part of our K-8 technology curriculum and includes, but is not limited to, the safety and ethics on such topics as: cyber bullying, online predators, communicating online, SPAM, social networking, appropriate Internet surfing, chatting, downloading music, copyright material, and general online care. This is the same for the high school but since there is no dedicated technology curriculum, these same topics are embedded in the content areas. All online activities are monitored through our content filtering devices. Learn more about our e-mail and web content filtering with the link on the left navigation bar.
Each year, there are parent presentations that focus on online safety. In the past, these presentations have been given to the Board of Education, individual school PTO's and to the community-at-large. In keeping with the HVRSD Technology Plan, at least one presentation is given each year to the Board of Education and/or our parents and the Hopewell Valley community.
Recently, we have updated our Internet Safety presentation and we have presented with the assistance of outside agencies including the Hopewell Township Police Dept. which we work with very closely. In addition, we have also presented with the NJ State Police, Princeton Township Police Dept and Chad Williams of Safe Kids America Inc.
Recent slide presentations are linked below.
There are many books and articles dedicated to the subject of online safety. To list them all is impossible, but we offer the following tips to help you keep your family safe online.
- Become a net-savvy parent
The best safeguard against online dangers is being informed. Jump in and learn the basics of the Internet—read articles, take a class, and talk to other parents. A good place to start is www.LearnTheNet.com. You don’t have to be an expert to have a handle on your child’s online world.
- "Chat" with your kids
Develop an open dialogue so that you can talk with your kids about the benefits and dangers of the Internet. Cultivate an interest in their online activities—their favorite Web sites, online games, and interests. And don’t be afraid to ask your children who they are talking to online and what they are talking about.
- Agree on a game plan
Use the InternetSafety.com Gameplan™ to formally agree on your family’s guidelines for using the Internet. Post them near the family computer as a reminder. Ensure that your kids know to never share personal information on the Internet and that they should tell you about any online activity or contact that makes them uncomfortable.
- Protect your computer
Take advantage of the software that exists to help parents manage their children’s computer experience. There are many very good web filtering products on the market. The district doesn't recommend specific vendors or products, but K9 Web Filtering by Blue Coat is a free security product that enables parents to prohibit access to specific web sites or categories of information they deem inappropriate, such as pornography and gambling. Visit this site to learn more about this free product that you may find very useful for your home.
- Explore the Internet as a family
With a game plan and a protected computer, you can now encourage your family to take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer. Take a genuine interest in what your kids are doing and stay engaged with them online.