Part II: Am I a safe surfer? Are you?
I generally regard myself as a safe and ethical Internet user. Believing myself to be safe does not however, stop the nagging voice in the back of my mind. It is this voice (or is it my mother's voice?) that questions whether I am really as safe as I think I am (read more). The voice also reminds me that I must take the responsibility to verify sources of information and give credit where credit is due.
Source Verification: My parents used to tell me; "Everything you see on TV isn't true."
TV, radio and news papers are no longer our only sources of information. We should remember the importance of questioning authenticity and accuracy as we seek out reliable information in today's high tech world. Anyone with computer access and half a brain can upload thoughts and images to the Web... but what about the person with a full sized brain who just thinks he's an expert? Or even worse, the clever person who intentionally distributes misinformation? One quick way to check the credibility of a web page is to look at the URL. Deconstructing the components of the URL, is just one step in evaluation process. Such evaluation "is important in determining the authority, authenticity, and application of the information located on the Internet" (Mills, 2006). It is critical that we begin teaching our children to look for credibility clues as they search for information online. Teachers: check out Kathy Schrock's website for The ABC's of Website Evaluation.
Internet ethics: "Give credit where credit is due."
In an earlier post I made mention of my concern regarding student plagiarism. When we teach our kids about "copying" we must also teach them that giving credit to an author, artist, etc. is not only the right thing to do, it is the law. In order to reinforce proper citation, teachers should set clear expectations for assignments, have students develop a list of their resources, provide a rubric and teach proper methods of citing sources. Perhaps one of the most effective ways to teach students about the topic is by modeling honesty and proper citation ourselves (Mills, 2006).
Educational Websites for teachers and parents
CyberBee.com, links to Internet safety sites
NetSmartz.org, educating the public about Internet safety
i-Safe.org, Learn the 4Rs
UK Cooperative Extention, lists Internet safety tips for adults and children