John D. Rockefeller, Jr. once said, “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” So, whose responsibility is it to teach students the weight yet worth of these words – the village in which that student resides. The first lesson of cyber-safety should of course come from home; for that is where the technology is usually housed and in most cases paid. The article ‘Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network Sites’ offer parents a Parents Things to Do List on Cyber Safety as it relates to their responsibility in keeping their child safe or shall I say safer in cyberspace. The article goes on to say, “Parents are the most often cited source of advice and the biggest influence on teens’ understanding of appropriate and inappropriate digital behavior. Parents are also responsible for keeping their teens safe online and offline and have a number of tools at their disposal to do so.” The second lesson should come from school where educators can instruct students on how to use the Internet appropriately as it relates to completing assignments. The third and continued lesson should come from the partnership between home and school as they communicate best practices, school policies, and student responsibility and rights.
My former post offered many opportunities to speak on the third and continued lesson and I often wondered if the first lesson had been skipped altogether. The events that occur in the cyber world, mostly outside of the school day become reality during school hours. What may have started out as a parent’s responsibility soon becomes the schools, and the school’s policies often leave students and sometimes parents speaking on the violation of rights. I experienced countless scenarios involving not only social media gone wrong, but cases of parent’s texting or calling students during the school day.
So, whose job it anyways? It is the job of responsible adults such as a child’s parents and school educators. If they are not the village that teaches students how to stay safe, students will enter a village of people waiting to do them harm.