Internet safety is taken seriously in Alexandria City Public Schools. Parents should reasonably expect that students in ACPS are afforded the tremendous educational benefits of the Internet in a safe environment.
Students in ACPS are receiving instruction through Alexandria City Public Schools about being safe on the Internet. Parents should also be aware of Internet safety issues that affect their children outside the safe environment of the classroom. Following are tips, resources, and recommendations for parents in order to better ensure a safe, appropriate, and private Internet environment for children in their homes.
Internet Safety at Home
- Place your computers in an open place in the home like the kitchen or family room. Computing on the Internet in private is not recommended. Beware of compulsive or excessive Internet time by any family member.
- Privacy is an important issue on the Internet. Never give out your name, address, phone number or social security number to anyone or to any Web page you have not personally navigated.
- Ask your child if he/she has a MySpace, Facebook, or any other social networking account. Ask to see the page. Make sure children turn on the privacy settings to avoid strangers "checking them out." For a great description of social networking, watch the video Social Networking in Plain English.
- Beware of anyone you or your children meet on the Internet. Never personally meet an online contact unless it is in a public place and with adult supervision.
- If you have a Web page or post information on the Web, never give your personal information. Use only first names. Always think: "Someone is watching me." The video Tracking Teresa explains how easily it is to track someone using very little information.
- Don't respond to anything (e-mail, chat, IM) that makes you feel uncomfortable or uncertain.
- File sharing of copyrighted music on the Internet is a crime whether you have paid for the software or not. Use only reputable music download services by major companies.
- Install virus/spyware protection on your computer including a firewall. Filters and safe surfing software are available for a charge and for free.
The following sites have useful information on how to stay safe online.
- Virginia's Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools
- Common Sense Media
- Cyber Smart
- I Keep Safe
- i-SAFE - Internet Safety Education
- Net Smartz Workshop
- PBS Kids' Get Your Web License
- Safe Kids
- Stay Safe
Virginia is doing its part. HB 58 (2006) requires all school divisions to "include a component of Internet safety for students that is integrated in a division's instructional program." The Virginia Department of Education has recently published Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools. Additional information about Internet safety can be found on the Virginia Department of Education Web site.