HES hosts Internet safety class

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–With the way technology has constantly changed over the past 10-15 years, the Helena Elementary School and Helena Intermediate School counselors hosted an Internet safety class on Tuesday, Oct. 18 for parents wishing to learn tips and strategies to keep their children safe while surfing the web or using social media.

The class was presented by Angela Clark, a technology resource teacher for Shelby County Schools.

“Making sure as soon as your children are on a connected device that they’re protected is really important and it is quite the challenge,” said Clark.

Some of the topics discussed included how to protect a digital footprint, consider thinking before making a social media post, how to implement safety features and filters for the Internet, time management and more.

“A digital footprint is almost started at birth,” said Clark. “My coworker said that to me the other day and I thought ‘oh my goodness’ within 24 hours of my son being born I had posted a picture on Facebook to share with friends and family. This is what we do, we share pictures.”

Clark shared tips and resources for parents who have students of all ages.

“One of the most important things I would say is that depending on the age of your children now you will take certain actions and over time, that will change,” said Clark. “You’ll want to adjust how you choose to protect them and how you choose to handle things like their responsibility as far as using social media.”

Clark said that this is a social generation that is driven by interaction that doesn’t just include face-to-face.

Some of Clark’s actions she encourages parents to take would be to monitor a child’s Internet use by asking questions, balance time spent online, even it means getting a timer to balance the time spent in front of a screen and outside, purchase a filter for home Internet, ask what accounts their child has, discuss what is OK to share online and what is not OK to share and to set a good example by limiting the amount of screen time you have because younger children are always watching and will form habits.

Clark also encouraged parents to tell their children to think about the future whenever they think about making a social media post.

“Our children, when they go to apply for college or apply for jobs they are always going to have these pieces of their digital life that are online,” said Clark.

To view Shelby County Schools’ blog of resources for teachers, students and parents, visit Podcasts.shelbyed.k12.al.us/techtreats/.