December 15, 2010 at 8:06 p.m.

Be safe, not sorry!

Be safe, not sorry!
Be safe, not sorry!

One cannot pick up a newspaper or view a nightly news broadcast without headlines on a negative story related to technology and social medias. Recently, Chisago Lakes High School and Middle School sponsored a Cyber Safety presentation that provided parents, students, and other interested community members with tools for the safe usage of technology. The guest speaker was Dave Eisenmann, Director of Instructional Technology & Media Services, for Minnetonka Public Schools. During his presentation, he provided the following guidelines to safe guard against the negative use of technology.

• Proactively share values and expectations, about using technology that are set as a family. Viewing materials found on the www.medi afamily.org web site can be helpful when talking with your child;

• Actively engage and monitor household technologies to learn about the latest and greatest. A method of staying up to date is by subscribing to a weekly technology newsletter at www.commonsense media.org;

• Utilize a filtering system for computers and cell phones. There are several filtering programs that can be downloaded for free or are fee-based that can filter cell phone and computer data. Go on-line and "Google" computer or cell phone filtering programs for options;

• Emphasize that NOTHING electronically generated is private and everything is permanent. We all believe that we have a certain level of privacy with our individual technologies. This is not the case. Every day we are leaving a "digital footprint" that will last indefinitely;

• Discuss respectful etiquette and the negative impacts of cyberbullying www.cyberbully.org can provide information on the negative impacts of bullying with technologies.

• Monitor wireless devices, cell phones, iPods, etc with special consideration to the consequences of texting while driving. Once again, utilize the www.commonsenseme dia.org web site for materials;

• Limit TV viewing and gaming screen time. Obviously, the more time our children are in front of the screen, the less time they are reading, playing outside, or engaged in HOMEWORK;

• Periodically visit online parenting resources like www.connectwith kids.com or www.ikeepsafe.org for ideas and suggestions. "Google" technology parenting tips for yet other possible resources for parents.

The Eisenmann presentation was enlightening and frightening at the same time. Many of us don't realize the dangers of technologies but when we take the time to teach ourselves and our children to utilize them wisely, they can be great tools of our times. As the holiday season approaches and technology purchases are flying off the store shelves, if you take the time to buy, take the time to wisely educate the users on the dangers of misusing our digital technologies. From all of us at CLHS, have a safe and happy holiday.


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