Text or Call: 507-581-5038

cyber-safetyBe Safe.  Think First.  Do the Right Thing.

Not all of the sites below are appropriate for children.  Please use discretion when viewing these resources.

Top Tips for Parents and Teachers:

1. Celebrate and Encourage Positive Uses of Technology

2. Proactively share values, consequences, expectations away from home

Common Sense Family Media Agreement

3.  Model a Healthy Balance and Limit Entertainment Screen Time vs. Educational Screen Time

4. Actively engage and monitor, keep informed of trends, pop culture

     ► Common Sense Media- weekly newsletter, reviews, app: www.commonsensemedia.org/

5. Set up a filter and restrictions for all screens

  • Internet Use in School (Filtered) vs. Home/Friend’s house

Open DNS (basic version free) www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls Short, two minute instructional video describing how easy this is: goo.gl/eDrD5

MobiCip filter- works on iPhones, iPads, iPods, too www.mobicip.com, also K9 www1.k9webprotection.com

6. Talk about pornography & sexting

7. Emphasize that nothing is private (Future Employment, College Admissions)

8. Explain that everything is permanent (Digital Footprint/Shadow)

9. Talk about respectful etiquette and cyberbullying

10. Avoid Violent Video Games


11. Teach the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Online resources to learn more:

Books (some recommended to me by others):

  1. Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by David Walsh
  2. The Price of Privilege, also Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine
  3. A Parent’s Guide to Online Safetyby Doug Fodeman and Marje Monroe www.iste.org/store/product?ID=2600
  4. NO: Why Kids–of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It by David Walsh
  5. WHY Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen by David Walsh
  6. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle Digital connections…  may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.  Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other.  We’d rather text than talk. (pg. 1)
  7. How Much Is Enough?: Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Children — from Toddlers to Teens by Jean Illsley Clark
  8. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber
  9. Cyber Law: Maximizing Safety and Minimizing Risk in Classrooms by Aimee M. Bissonette
  10. Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons, Star Tribune article: www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=147246075

Safe Online Resources

  • Check you local library websites for age appropriate databases such as Culturegrams, Britannica, Biographies in Context, TruFlix, and more

Sample Discussion Questions:


  • Talent Show Ad Council Commercial www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdQBurXQOeQ
    • What are guidelines to follow when texting or writing about someone else online?  (Be nice, be appropriate, words often get misinterpreted when read, think about saying what you are typing directly to someone in person, what you write is permanent.
  • You Can’t Take it Back (Video and questions from NetSmartz’s Real Life Stories, www.netsmartz.org/resources/reallife.htm)
    • What would you do if you heard that a friend was going to rate some other students on the Internet?
    • Would you ever put information on a web site that you intend only you and your friends to see? Why or why not?
    • What do you do to respect other people’s rights while online?
    • What guidelines do you follow to help you decide what information you should or should not post on the Internet?
  • Broken Friendship (Video and questions from NetSmartz’s Real Life Stories, www.netsmartz.org/resources/reallife.htm)
    • Why do you think the girl in the story gave her password to her best friend? Was it a good reason?
    • What types of things can happen to her now that her password is out? (Her E-mail can be tampered with; people can assume her identity online; her bank or shopping accounts can be tampered with.)
    • What should the girl do right away? (Change her password; tell her parents or guardian; contact her bank.)
    • Does keeping your passwords private mean that you don’t trust your friends?

Dangers Sharing Personal Information/Digital Footprints

  • Who is safe from predators? (No one is completely safe, but there are things we can do to prevent bad things from happening to us.  Most people tend to think that they are the exception to the rule- something bad won’t happen to them, they won’t get harmed by a predator, etc.)
  • Does setting your online profile to private keep you safe? (No- only as safe as all your viewers who have permission to see your stuff keep it private.)
  • How might your actions online now affect your future?  (Employment, college admissions, etc.)
  • If you have a social networking page, would you be comfortable with your parents seeing it?

Inappropriate Material/Hollywood’s Influence

  • How does viewing pornography affect people?  (It is addictive, shows examples of unhealthy relationships, messes up your mind, makes you view people as objects, makes guys more aggressive and abusive towards girls, makes girls more passive and leads to eating disorders.)
  • Brainstorm some things you could do when you are at a friend’s house and s/he wants to show you inappropriate material on the computer.
  • What role does Media/Hollywood have on our perceptions of beauty?
  • What is the story in your favorite video game?
  • Do you think it is OK to play violent video games?
  • What do you think your parents would say about your favorite video game?  Would they play it with you?