An Internet-Safety Educational Tool That Shows Great Promise

Guest article by Mary Kay Hoal, which we just had to republish…

Linda Criddle’s LOOKBOTHWAYS Foundation has always been a go-to Internet-safety resource of mine. Not only is her website filled with original content about online privacy, mobile safety, cyberbullying and other Internet concerns, but her perspective is backed by 13 years of experience as an online safety expert for Microsoft’s MSN division.

Linda’s latest project, NetSkills4Life, provides teachers, students and parents with a fun and engaging way to learn about safe Internet practices. The online curriculum consists of lessons which are broken down by grade level—kindergarten to 12th grade. Then, for each grade level, there are separate lessons to choose from, such as “stop cyberbullying” and “keep it to yourself”. Opening one of these lessons triggers an interactive window where students/children are guided through a series of definitions, questions and helpful tips. At the end of the lesson, students take a quiz about what they just learned. They can then review their answers, see what they got wrong and why, and print or email their quiz results to their parents.

I sat down with Linda and used the application myself, and I can honestly say that not only is it impressive from a technological standpoint, but it’s extremely user-friendly and effective at getting the safety messages across.

Thinking about this project even more, I realized that Linda isn’t simply providing a solution to educators and parents, she’s posing a challenge to them by showing that this kind of education is necessary, possible and practical enough for schools across the country to make Internet-safety a part of their regular curriculum.  And I hope, someday, this challenge is met.

Education about online safety and privacy is a huge part of what we do at Yoursphere Media, so our plan is to incorporate the NetSkills4Life program into as I saw the immediate education value it will provide our members. NetSkillz4Life is still in the works so lessons are limited for the time being, but in the meantime I encourage parents to sit down with their kids and challenge themselves to this 6th grade lesson on spam and scams.

Thank you, Linda, for all the great work that you do!

Mary Kay Hoal, President YourSphere


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