With the advancement of technology, kids are being introduced to technology at younger and younger ages. It is becoming absolutely vital to make sure that our children know how to stay safe when they are surfing the internet, engaging with social media, or using the newest app on their smartphone. Netsmartz is a program designed to educate children of the dangers lurking on the internet, and teach them ways to use computer technology safely.
On its website, Netsmartz defines itself as “an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement.”
Netsmartz goals include:
This year, Netsmartz has been hosting assemblies throughout Cache County School District that have proven to be effective in teaching our students about online safety. The assemblies include videos, examples, and visual aids that keep students entertained while also opening their eyes to the danger that just one click of a button can put them in.
Lizzie Jones, a Netsmartz presenter who has conducted many of the assemblies in our district, said, “We work hard to deliver fun, entertaining, and informative presentations every year to schools, free of charge. Our focus is to help kids feel empowered to know what to do if they, or kids they know, are in a tough situation on the internet. In our assemblies, we work to increase kids' confidence by helping them think about what they would do in an online bullying situation, or if they encountered an online predator. We teach them preventative strategies, like online privacy, to help keep them safe.”
Netsmartz has seen tremendous results since it has started introducing its message to schools throughout the state. Recently, Netsmartz conducted a study of students in 6-12 grade after participating in the training, and the results were very positive. Some of the statistics are listed below:
The Cache County School District is glad to have programs such as Netsmartz educate our students on how to remain safe on- and offline.
To learn more about Netsmartz, visit: www.netsmartz.org