Are you a parent or a teacher of digitally connected children?  Chances are that if you’re a parent or a teacher at all, the answer to that question is yes!  Heck, I don’t know many kids today who aren’t digitally connected.  Between IMing, Texting, Emailing, Blogging and Surfing, it’s hard to believe that today’s child ever sees the great out-of-doors, isn’t it?

The power of the Web has truly captivated today’s generation….and that’s cool.

Unfortunately, us “caring adults” haven’t really been paying attention to what our kids are doing online.  In fact, we really have no clue what goes on behind the keyboard most of the time, do we?

Consider these statistics, gleaned from Childnet International—-my new favorite resource for teaching parents and students how to stay safe in Cyberspace:

  • 7% of children describe themselves as beginners on the Internet.
  • 79% of young people use the Internet privately without their parent’s supervision.
  • 33% of young people who go online at least once a week report having received unwanted sexual or nasty comments via email, chat instant message or text message.
  • Only 7% of parents think their child has received such comments.
  • 57% of 9-19 year olds have come into contact with online pornography.
  • Only 16% of parents think that their child has seen pornography on the Internet.
  • 49% of kids say that they have given out personal information on the Internet.
  • 5% of parents think their child has given out such information.

And most importantly:

  • 30% of students report having received no lessons at all on using the Internet.

What do these statistics mean for us?

That we’ve got to do a better job understanding what our children are doing on the Net—-and do a better job introducing our kids to the skills necessary for staying safe while they explore.

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