Sex on the Internet is just one of the dangers children may be exposed to when they log-on. It's a concern for both parents and teachers. A national survey conducted by the software company McAfee.com shows these are the top Internet concerns among middle school teachers:
- 90% are worried about students accessing inappropriate content on-line.
- 80% are concerned about students exchanging private information about themselves and their families.
- 66% say students engaging in on-line mischief is a big problem.
Carol Hudson teaches "Computer Discovery Class" at Fernwood Junior High. Hudson says parents teach their children when they're young to avoid talking to strangers on the street, the shopping mall and the grocery store. But once they get to middle school and learn about new technology, they can get very curious about the Internet.
A software company executive says many children provide too much information to total strangers on the Internet. Srivats Sampath is the CEO of McAfee.com. He says children tend to give out their last names, their e-mail addresses or even their home addresses and telephone numbers. That information can be used by cyber stalkers or by people who want to harass them on the Internet.
That's why Hudson makes sure her students know the rules before they get on-line. Hudson says there's a unit on Internet appropriateness. Students also learn Internet safety rules, such as don't talk to people you don't know, don't give out personal information on the Internet and no chatting on-line.
The school computers also have a filtering system to block inappropriate sites. Hudson hopes what she teaches in the classroom will carry on when students walk out the door. Hudson says she's concerned that students who don't have a filtering system at home will stumble on to a site where they shouldn't be. She says that's why parents need to keep a close eye on their children whenever they're on the computer.