My students and many other students are using these platforms everyday to meet and chat with others, mostly their friends, but sometimes there are opportunities for sexual predators to connect with children. So, I must ask myself do my students know what to do if a stranger tried to connect with them? And are they using the platform appropriately?
There are many more of these networking sites, but these are just a few. What really surprised me was how easy it is to sign up? There are not many questions asked and if kids aren't old enough they can just change the year they were born to get in. And if you google " how kids use ______ (insert the platform)" you get tons of articles talking about the dangers some of these sites have brought to children.
So, how can we allow our children to use these platforms and keep them safe? We must teach them Digital Citizenship, internet safety and what to do if they come across a cyberbully.
Here's a great site with a list of resources on cyberbullying here. Here's another link here on online safety for kids here.
Lastly, a great video from the Teaching Channel showcasing a lesson on Digital Citizenship to 3-5th graders.