Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You Gave Who My Email Address? An Online Safety Discussion

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a former student. After a few emails back and forth, he asked for some email addresses of some of his former classmates.

So I went down the hall to ask the Grade 5-6 teacher if I could leave a message on her whiteboard asking if anyone wanted to share their emails with this former student.

About halfway through writing the message, I stopped and erased it.  I changed the message from one asking permission to one explaining that I had shared all their emails with someone and to let me know if they had any questions.

At lunch time a grade 5 student came to my class to ask me to come to his class to help them. By this time I had forgotten all about the letter, and when I got to the classroom I was expecting to fix a computer. Instead, I was confronted by 20 angry students.

"Why did you give our email addresses away?" one student asked. "Who did you give them to?" demanded another.

We ended up talking about trustworthiness, profile pictures and how they can be faked, and general online safety.

These students have a pretty good understanding of what not to share online, but I would like to see what would happen if the conversation was steered towards social network services and online bullying.

I heard a story from a Grade 1 mom about how her son was playing the X Box one day, and a guy he was playing with asked him for money.

Online safety lessons cannot start too early.

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