Internet Safety Discussion with expert, Linda Criddle – join in!

Free Staff Development/ Webcasts/ Podcasts at

For those of you who have recently joined the blogosphere, there are some great FREE webcasts over at with some great educators. You can listen live and participate in the chat (click on chat room) where you can ask questions to the speakers live, or you can subscribe to the podcasts to listen to later. I subscribe to everything at edtechtalk and listen to all of them.

There are some college professors and staff developers that require their organizations or staff to select and participate in several shows a month to encourage innovation and participation. It is exciting to see the growth and interest from the audience– (Some of whom just listen, the chat is optional) and I believe that such live forums are truly the future of our staff development.

Tuesday Nights – WOW2

My little piece of this webcast fun is on Tuesday nights where I co-host the WOW2 show on 9 pm Eastern Time (See the time zone converter) with Jennifer Wagner, Cheryl Oakes, and Sharon Peters and we interview some really neat people. The great thing about the show is the combination of the guests and the chat room — in fact, every chat is archived because it has become a great forum for sharing and discussing and I often learn as much from the chat as elsewhere.

This Tuesday: Linda Criddle, Online Child Safety Expert

Here in the US, we will all be fielding questions because of the largely publicized Miss New Jersey case where private facebook photos were used to potentially “blackmail” a pageant winner, forcing her to out the embarrassing photos on national TV. She just shared the photos with “friends” on facebook, not realizing that they could be copied and saved.

So, tomorrow night, we will learn from Linda. I've read her book look-both-ways and I like it because it is a non-fear practical book that talks about teaching kids to live on the internet like we teach them to cross the road — how can they “look both ways” on the Internet?

We will talk about:

  • Practical tips for teachers to be safe with their students while blogging/ podcasting.
  • What could Miss New Jersey have done to prevent the “virtual blackmail” and what should we as educators do about it?
  • What she thinks should be done at the legislative level about Internet child safety (she has also testified in front of the British House of Commons and advised several other governments in addition to the US). Should Internet safety be mandated like drivers ed?
  • When should students be taught and what?
  • Her new internet safety course for educators (which I'm beta testing, great stuff!) and how you can learn more.
  • She will answer your questions.

There is a lot of conjecture and misinformation. We booked Linda about six months a go, she is a very busy woman but this discussion is so important! Linda is an expert, I hope you'll add your expertise as a teacher!

Leave your question here and we'll add it if we're able!

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5 thoughts on “Internet Safety Discussion with expert, Linda Criddle – join in!

  1. Paul Allison of Teachers Teaching Teachers fame will be leading several webcasts this week from Cal State Chico where he will be leading Tech Matters, a National Writing Project technology and literacy conference. It sounds like he will be doing one every day with a lengthy “webcastathon” on Saturday. Now, I will be a participant in this limited attendance event, but I must say that the folks involved should provide some awesome views on how technology is being used from all over the United States. The WoW webcasts will be one of my recommendations during our online podcast sessions.

  2. In the spirit of making lemonade from lemons 😉 one argument that I’ve heard and found intriguing is that the very fact that someone “out there” may make an irresponsible posting on a student blog or deface a wiki page creates an opportunity for students to deal with real issues. There’s much that I appreciate about this argument from an authentic learning standpoint, but I’m curious about Linda’s thinking on this, having to deal as she does with real schools/teachers/parents who may not see themselves having the luxury to allow for in-class discussions of such “opportunities.”

  3. Responding to Jeff’s pondering on (7/17/07) Jeff, you rightly point to a very difficult issue.

    When real-time issues arise, using that as a teachable moment is important. However at least two issues make this tricky in reality – time restraints and values.

    -Time is a lost luxury. Families don’t have enough, teachers don’t have enough, and schools don’t have enough time to teach everything we want youth to learn – especially in that ‘perfect teachable moment’. With a whole class to manage and a curriculum to get through stopping up and taking on a discussion of this nature simply isn’t always possible.

    -Depending on the nature of the offending material, discussing it with an entire class may not be desirable. This is where the whole values and risk levels affect the amount of latitude individual parents/teachers/schools give for discussing ‘real issues’. This requires a judgment call as to what issues – however real – they find appropriate to discuss. Ideally parents tackle any topic. Teachers and schools are of necessity going to be more constrained.

    The ideal time to teach students how to deal with real issues is before the issues arise. Then when an incident occurs, the principle they’ve already learned can be highlighted without significantly disrupting the curriculum, or without having to discuss the specific incident that may or may not be ‘appropriate’ and may or may not have a controlled outcome.

    Since no one is born with a crystal ball we have to use our best knowledge as to when to teach these principles. Fortunately, to a large extent youth take up new online tools and services at predictable times. This is often because that’s when everyone else in their peer group is starting to use the tools, or because the curriculum introduces a new tool.

    Time is still a factor. Time has to be found to teach core online safety principles in advance. But the teaching does not have to come at unplanned moments. Several states have now legislated that internet safety training be conducted in schools, I expect more will follow.

    Kids (and adults) are often less receptive to learning if they’ve already developed lazy usage habits. This is particularly true when there is little instant feedback on cause and effect. If you put your hand on a hot stove you know right away you made a mistake. Online this type of instant lesson is fairly rare and so it’s easy to think there is no negative effect possibly looming.

    It is in support of teachers and students that I developed the Internet Safety for Educators course, and am now developing a K-12 internet safety program. Core to the philosophy of this program are the just-in-time usage training piece and short and flexible lesson formats that can either stand alone or be woven into existing lesson material. They have to be. Schools are already time strapped and it is just prior to the adoption of new tools & services that the best opportunities for
    This approach doesn’t remove a potential need to have reinforcing discussions in the ensuing days after a malicious online behavior has been manifest on topics like:
    -Mean behavior is unacceptable and it speaks about the abuser’s mindset and character, not the victim’s.
    -How the abuse happened and what can be done to possibly prevent it in the future – this has both technical and behavioral elements
    -Bullying, respecting the privacy of others, etc. based on the nature of the event

    Additionally, depending on how upset the student, or how serious the irresponsibility of the action towards the student or their virtual possessions, one-on-one conversations may be called for.

    One last comment:

    We hope that the unwise action (online or offline) by a student will only cause them mild embarrassment or ‘just a little scare’, or a simple reprimand from which they can extrapolate wise conclusions.

    We also hope that the mean spirited or malicious attack against a student or their belongings (real or virtual) is fairly benign so they can live and learn instead of being devastated.

    Unfortunately, as I said up front, life isn’t a controlled environment – online or offline. One teen drinks and drives and gets home safely, another is far less lucky, and is seriously injured or killed, or end up maiming or killing others.

    Sometimes tragic things are going to occur through online interactions no matter how much we wish they wouldn’t. They need to be included in discussions up front with students – without fear mongering. And they need to be included in expectation setting and discussions with faculty, administrations and parents.

    Linda Criddle

  4. It’s so important to review safety issues with children constantly, whether it’s at home or at school in the classroom. It’s an ongoing process each time a child gets on the computer.

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