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Tolt students, parents invited to online safety talk

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the sixth and eighth graders at Tolt will attend an Internet safety assembly by Stephanie Thomas of the Seattle Police Department.

At times the "online world" can be dangerous and misunderstood by students. Technology can bring another layer of difficulty to the sometimes challenging task of raising teenagers. Schools across the country are frequently using district resources to deal with the inappropriate use of technology driven communications used by children and teens.

By providing safety information of this type, the staff and administration at Tolt hope to help parents keep their children protected and informed of the possible dangers surrounding Internet use.

Parents are urged to get educated on how the Internet works and keep tabs on their children's computer use. According to http://www.k12.wa.us/SafetyCenter, parents need to:

• Teach

Create a written Internet safety plan. Set rules for Internet use, e-mail, and texting. Include specific strategies for what to do about inappropriate communication. Talk regularly with children about not disclosing personal information online. Draft a list together of what not to share, including name, age, school, phone number, address. Don't share passwords. Middle school is a time of changing friendships; even BFF's. Remind children that anything they write can be forwarded or printed to distribute.

• Monitor

Keep the computer in a common area of the house. Consider filtering or monitoring software. Be aware of children's computer use away from home.

• Report

Save or print inappropriate messages and pictures. Contact parents of others who send your students inappropriate e-mails. Contact your Internet service provider and file a complaint if messages are received that you think violate the terms and conditions of your contract. Contact the police if your child receives violent threats, pornography, or is harassed.

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