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Virginia Becomes First State to Mandate Internet Safety Lessons

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the nanny-state dept.

The Internet 262

kaufmanmoore writes "The Commonwealth of Virginia has become the first state in the nation to require that students in all grade levels receive a form of internet safety lessons. The story is scant on details about the lessons, but describes one recently at a high school where the presenter showed a social-networking profile of a convicted sex offender posing as a 15 year-old girl. "

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This is great but... (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994706)

This is a fine idea - The internet is a treacherous place for children.

But I'd rather see mandatory parenting.

Re:This is great but... (2, Interesting)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994750)

Not really....

A) Realize that no matter how much you warn them of the "dangers" of the Internet, kids will still get on it
B) Realize that many teenagers will rebel and still get on
C) Realize that by teaching ways that predators will stalk them, they will think they are safe if they don't have those
D) And lastly, realize that this opens up an avenue for propaganda by MS and the *AA to try to squash innovation by spreading FUD with how "pirated" things always has viruses and can lead to identity theft and being stalked!!!One!11!!

Sure it seems like a good idea, but remember the government gave us the DMCA and most likely doesn't know anything about what the 'Net is really like.

Re:This is great but... (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994854)

I'm not "Won't someone think of the children?" apologist. But, some parents are internet-illiterate. So, what's wrong with one extra source to say "Hey - There are dangers out there. Be careful." So be it. I'd much rather see parents educate themselves, but I think that calling this a MS/**AA FUD tactic is a stretch...

Re:This is great but... (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994920)

If the classes were a 1 hour session of someone saying "Hey kids, them thar internets can be dangerous. Don't go trusting people. Use common sense.", that would be fine.

It's obviously going to a series of endless classes and fear mongering for the pedo fud machine.

And you can't just ignore the fact that a lot of the "innocent" kids actually go out looking for trouble, either because they want att ention, hate their parents, or want to screw over some pedo.

This is a move in the wrong direction.
They need to simply ban minors from the entire internet.

Re:This is great but... (5, Interesting)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995056)

All non-academic lessons I've taken have boiled down to that.

Hunter saftey course (guns in general): don't be an idiot. don't point guns at people. use that organ located between your ears.
D.A.R.E: don't do illegal drugs or alcohol, most will mess you up.
Drivers Ed: Use common sense, follow the law, don't be reckless. (ironically nothing about actually driving)

I guarentee this lesson will be: "Don't give out personal information. Don't post pictures. Use fake names. All men are men, all women are men, all 13 year old girls are FBI agents or Pedophiles. Don't meet with people in real life."

So flip it around (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995516)

Have a class where the kids all get fake identities, and try to get on the network and steal the fakes from each other.
Give the kids a lesson about phish, you bore them for a day. Teach the kids to phish, and you could educate them for a lifetime.

Re:This is great but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995554)

All men are men, all women are men
Oblig Bash [bash.org]

Re:This is great but... (5, Insightful)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995556)

You're right that a lot of this overlaps with the "use common sense" lessons from other contexts. But the thing is that kids really don't all have a ton of common sense. In fact, a lot of kids demonstrate shockingly little of it at times. Maybe they have it and choose not to use it, or maybe it's just not fully developed.

It's one thing to say "don't meet strange people handing out candy." It's a good lesson and one that schools should mention since a lot of parents don't remember to. Heck, when I was in elementary school (pre-Internet) they taught us that kind of basic safety lesson.

But not all 3rd graders will extrapolate from "don't take candy from strangers" to "don't expose yourself on a webcam for a 'girl' in another state." [reputation...erblog.com] I'm sure that any future-slashdotter would figure that one out without any help, but not all kids are above average.

If this is really just adding lessons about Internet common-sense to lessons about real-world common-sense then it's probably on the net a good thing. Kids haven't developed their common sense yet and can easily get hurt by it.

Re:This is great but... (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995072)

TFA is scant on details, but I pictured something along the lines of D.A.R.E. You know, a couple of 1-hour sessions a year. Surely not a 5-class-a-week thing?

(I know DARE is a lousy example - BS drug propaganda etc. But you know what I mean...)

They need to simply ban minors from the entire internet.
Please let that be a troll... I can't fathom how I would respond otherwise... My 3-year-old loves the internet and is a much stronger child because of it... All I need to do is stay educated and involved and things are great. But, if his junior high one day reminds him of what to avoid, so much the better.

What? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995124)

Internet illiterate?

Pray tell, what does the Internet have to do with this:

"Hey kids! Don't go meet anyone you haven't met before and haven't spoken to on the phone, alone, in a non-public setting, without telling anyone where you're going."

This has nothing to do with the Internet, sorry. If they had mandated 'Internet safety', they'd be teaching kids not to browse porn sites with Internet Explorer and then do their online banking. And not to install WICKED COOL SCREENSAVER.EXE, despite how cool it sounds. And to mouse over links in their e-mail, and not to click on them if they show a strange mix of four distinct numbers instead of an actual domain name.

Internet safety my arse. Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Internet safety, Proxmio, and this is not it. This is not it. What this is, is doing the jobs of dumbass trailer trash who squirted out brats after a night of drunken lust in the parking lot of a Taco Bell. Not that I'm against it - someone has to fight against the level of stupid that's infecting our society, but call it what it is.

Re:This is great but... (3, Informative)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995128)

I'm not "Won't someone think of the children? apologist."

Nice, the article is tagged as such already.

We are talking about schools here. We should actually think about the children in this case....

wrong topic (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995186)

Teaching kids about the internet is a great idea. Unfortunately, being aware of adults seeking to trick them into sexual situations is NOT an internet issue, it is a social issue that has basic rules that should apply to all types of communication and interaction, no matter what the channel or method of communication might be (if you don't know what the basic rules are that I speak of, then you are probably a child molester). Health class is the area to address issues of adult/child abuse.

The real issues that teens and pre-teens need to be taught about in regards to the internet are:

1. If you post text, a picture, or video on the internet it will be there indefinitely, and everyone will potentially have access to it. This works for pics of all types, from sexually inappropriate things to pics from a party where people are drinking to social networking 'interests' lists. We've all heard stories of people getting turned down from a job b/c of a facebook profile. Young people need to know about this early.

2. Cyber bullying. For crying out loud, this is huge, and young people are the most vulnerable. Kids need to know that what gets put online has real consequences, and conversely, to not take rumors or gossip posted online seriously. We've all seen the story about the girl who killed herself b/c a neighbor (parent posing as a teen!) was saying hateful things about her.

3. What the internet is...a computer network. No more, no less. It's a powerful communications tool, just like a car is a powerful transportation tool. If you don't understand and respect what it can do, you or someone else will pay for it.

I know I kinda sound lame and schoolmarm-ish on that last one, but it's true...damn I'm getting old.

The Virginia school classes are nothing more than ignorant reactionary bs meant to calm the irrational fears of soccer moms who watch too much Dateline.

Re:wrong topic (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995460)

"Unfortunately, being aware of adults seeking to trick them into sexual situations is NOT an internet issue, it is a social issue"

This is absolutely correct. Not only that, it is WAY better to have your kid learn the basic rules of safety when there is a thousand miles of wire between them and the person that is trying to take advantage of them. (sexually or not) The idea that kids should learn how to deal with these people in face to face situations FIRST is just not logical.

I agree with #1 and #2, but 'Cyber Bullying' is exactly the same situation as sexual predators. Bullying is not a different situation because it is on a computer. Schools want to pretend like it is because it allows them to extend their authority and thus power outside of the schools. In a hundred years, schools have not addressed real life bullying that includes the same things that happens online as well as physical assaults. Your example of the girl who killed herself, helps make this clear. The girl never did know that the person who first pretended to like her, and then said very mean things was an adult. The fact that it WAS an adult is totally irrelevant. The fact is that boys have pretended to like girls, only to spurn them later has been happening for as long as we have recorded history of male female interactions. It is safe to assume that it was going on well before we started recording history. The same can be said of girls pretending to like boys and then spurning them, as well as adults to adults. The girl killed herself because she was infatuated and got dumped. No one would have blamed the telephone for this if it happened over the phone, or the school if a boy had done this to her there.

I would want to see the schools dealing with real live bullying before they start even considering dipping their greedy hands into my home. Heck

Re:This is great but... (4, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994944)

A) Realize that no matter how much you warn them of the "dangers" of the Internet, kids will still get on it

B) Realize that many teenagers will rebel and still get on

These are the same. And abstince-only education doesn't work with sex either. The point is to teach them safe habits.

C) Realize that by teaching ways that predators will stalk them, they will think they are safe if they don't have those

Well, to a large degree, that's true. If you never give anyone enough information to track you down, and never meet people off the internet, then you are pretty safe. If they find out your IP address they might be able to find out your neighborhood/block. But you even avoid that by not directly connecting with people.

That does discount spyware, but that seems like a second class of issues (or second class by the school.).

D) And lastly, realize that this opens up an avenue for propaganda by MS and the *AA to try to squash innovation by spreading FUD with how "pirated" things always has viruses and can lead to identity theft and being stalked!!!One!11!![sic]

Sure it seems like a good idea, but remember the government gave us the DMCA and most likely doesn't know anything about what the 'Net is really like.

Wow, way to combine three typical slashdot dislikes. First, it was the federal government who gave us the DMCA, not Virginia. Second, a lot of the DMCA makes sense (the safe-harbor provisions). I suppose you are talking about the generality of the term 'encrption scheme' so that it applies to ROT-13 and the law against having mechanisms to get around it? Well, even that seems more carelessly written than evil.

And even if there was a lot of anti-piracy in the class, that 1) seems valid, as pirated software is more likely to have spyware than the non-pirated alternative (exception that proves the rule, P2P clients). 2) Even if it was used to curb piracy, how does that lead to a lack of innovation? I would understand software patents, but... 3) Even if that was a negative consequence, teaching kids good online habits seems to outweigh it. 4) Piracy *is* illegal, and the government *should* support upholding the law.

Political rant: I don't understand how the Republicans/Libertarians can win elections with attitudes like yours. Of course, if you think government will always fail, and you are in charge of it, it will. My coworker claims that all architecture meetings take forever and end indecisively, but of course he has the power to cause that outcome.

Re:This is great but... (3, Informative)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995178)

Wow, way to combine three typical slashdot dislikes. First, it was the federal government who gave us the DMCA, not Virginia. Second, a lot of the DMCA makes sense (the safe-harbor provisions). I suppose you are talking about the generality of the term 'encryption scheme' so that it applies to ROT-13 and the law against having mechanisms to get around it? Well, even that seems more carelessly written than evil.


While that is true, government is government is government. I was referring to how it was illegal to do some (seemingly) perfectly legal things such as install modchips, break CSS to duplicate DVDs, break DRM on your media... Im not saying that the DMCA is necessarily evil, but it stops innovation nonetheless.

And even if there was a lot of anti-piracy in the class, that 1) seems valid, as pirated software is more likely to have spyware than the non-pirated alternative (exception that proves the rule, P2P clients). 2) Even if it was used to curb piracy, how does that lead to a lack of innovation? I would understand software patents, but... 3) Even if that was a negative consequence, teaching kids good online habits seems to outweigh it. 4) Piracy *is* illegal, and the government *should* su support upholding the law.


Because, soon enough, what starts out as no "piracy" becomes no P2P, becomes no owning your programs, becomes no owning your media (see how this can grow, we are already to where P2P == piracy and MS/DMCA is pushing to no owning programs/media....)

Most kids already know good online habits, everyone knows you shouldn't go with random strangers online. Sure there are some stupid ones that will do whatever a 50 year old man tells them to, but some people don't think that coffee is going to be hot and sue McDonalds, does that really justify a warning label?

The problem though is, it won't be "piracy is illegal and so don't do it" it will be some online predators use pirated versions of Windows which probably is a fact, then it becomes all online predators use pirated Windows, then it becomes pirating Windows == online stalking.

Bottom line, its not what it is today, it is what it could be tomorrow that I am pointing out.

Re:This is great but... (2, Interesting)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995272)

Most kids already know good online habits, everyone knows you shouldn't go with random strangers online
Like not putting pictures up of them underaged drinking on FaceBook? Oh wait...

The problem though is, it won't be "piracy is illegal and so don't do it" it will be some online predators use pirated versions of Windows which probably is a fact, then it becomes all online predators use pirated Windows, then it becomes pirating Windows == online stalking.
I don't know what internet security courses at a high school have to do with your tinfoil hat there, but it is really shiny. The kids will love it... so long as they don't tie you to the ceiling and shine bright lights at it.

Re:This is great but... (1)

bloodstains (676306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995170)

Wow. Are you really saying if this does not have a 100% success rate, then it's not worth doing? I guess there's no sense in getting out of bed tomorrow.

Re:This is great but... (5, Funny)

plowfunkel (1151639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995494)

There is absolutely NO REASON to teach our children physics... A) Realize that no matter how many sample problems they work through, kids will still find problems that they have not seen before B) Realize many young scientists will rebel and say nothing can travel faster than light or that mass and energy are the same thing C) Realize that teaching students about inertial frameworks will just make them think they know how to solve problems that involve non-inertial frameworks D) And lastly, realize that this opens up an avenue for propaganda by CERN and the *AAS to try to squash discovery by spreading FUD about how fundamental discoveries require trillion dollar colliders!! Sure it seems like a good idea, but remember the government gave us the ATOM BOMB and most likely doesn't know anything about what the laws of nature are really like.

Re:This is great but... (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995562)

D) And lastly, realize that this opens up an avenue for propaganda by MS and the *AA to try to squash innovation by spreading FUD with how "pirated" things always has viruses and can lead to identity theft and being stalked!!!One!11!!

How does software piracy promote innovation? better p2p clients? I'm trying to stretch my mind here, about how piracy in any way benefits anyone except the hacker who made sure you have a version of windows you'll never update, and thus will be totally exposed to hackers who know what they're doing...

And you know what, I've seen pirate version of windows slipstreamed with rootkits, it's easy google 'slipstreaming' once... i remember before the days of slipstreaming when they came in a zip file, with their own special installer to install windows 98 over windows 95, only the windows 98 had the browser completely hijacked, and god knows what kind of software they had preloaded...

Do you Really trust software pirates to have no financial reason to be providing their cracks or downloads??

A really clean piracy operation will provide clean copies of software, but only if they have really easy remote vulnerabilities. LOADS of video games fall in this category, thanks to anti-piracy software, and the cracks to remove that anti-piracy functionality... often times the software will have to auto update the anti-piracy features to keep up with company updates of the game... are you really going to trust pirate software that requires an auto updater?!?!

Re:This is great but... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995574)

A) Realize that no matter how much you warn them of the "dangers" of the Internet, kids will still get on it.

And the very reason that some kids will still get on it is for the dangers themselves. Some kids like living like that. They are usually the troublemakers of the class. As you say, the rebellers, will still get on but now they know what to look for. The Internet is just another medium for their already freaky hobbies. And in fact, it's teenagers who are proving to be some of the problem online with both college and non-college kids acting as online bullies and using various websites for their own personal bathroom stall messages.

I think parents should be taking these classes with the children.

Re:This is great but... (5, Insightful)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994804)

Even good parents may not be particularly Internet savvy. I think this is a great idea, especially if at least some of the lessons are given by other kids.

I remember once helping out at a teacher conference in summer between 8th and 9th grades to help teach them (the teachers) how to use their new Macs (back around 1992).

Bah... (1, Insightful)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995452)

By the same principle, you're going to excuse "non automobile savvy parents" from being the failures they are because they were too incredibly stupid to teach their kids "don't hitch rides with strangers" (unless of course the kid aces the local IDPA pistol course and packs everywhere she goes, but that's impossible in modern countries, since only free men and women have access to any means of self defense at all. Modern countries discourage non institutionalized methods of self defense, and their denizens obey these discouragements.)

Re:This is great but... (2, Interesting)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995552)

I don't think I'm the only one around here who has fond memories of telling my computer teachers in highschool how to copy/paste, alt-tab, and use other extremely basic functions. Oh, sure, I learned a lot in those classes, but very little of that knowledge actually came from the teacher.

If this is going to work, either a lot more money must be spent getting the teachers up to date (easier said than done, since many of the people on top remain fearful of or overwhelmed by this series of tubes), or they'll have to make getting kids to teach each other (with supervision) a major part of the curriculum.

I am assuming that these internet safety lessons are supposed to enable children to learn more than they would in a 5 minute talk with their parents about how they shouldn't give personal information to anyone and they should be very careful about trusting anyone they don't know. If that is the case, I have no idea how they're going to keep it up to date on all the latest threats. Even universities struggle with this, so I have no idea how the average public school is going to handle it.

Re:This is great but... (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994852)

Indeed. I'd go as far as to say that parenting classes ought to be mandatory, with instructions that children ought to be kept from browsing the Internet by themselves much as they are kept from driving automobiles.

As for these computer safety lessons, how much to do want to bet that no where in the entire school curriculum is the correct way to use HTTPS taught?

Re:This is great but... (5, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994872)

This is a fine idea - The internet is a treacherous place for children.

The web, in general, may be an inappropriate venue for a young child, but it's hardly treacherous. In fact, I'd say that the risk of being targeted and hunted down in some manner is probably far less than your local playground. Which is to say the risk is small enough to put aside, and hardly something that merits the exaggerated press coverage, let alone the subject of a government mandated safety policy.

Besides, if a child of any age is inclined to participate in "chat rooms", then they'll have plenty of supervisory company from law enforcement officials and TV celebrities.

What would real Internet Safety Program look like? I'd start with something that includes unhiding file extensions on Windows systems to prevent the .exe nonsense that unlike the bogeyman, is a real and demonstrable threat.

But I'd rather see mandatory parenting.

Agreed. But they're both working, and too busy or too tired, trying to make a living. Guess the responsibility falls on the rest of us, huh?

Re:This is great but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994940)

The web, in general, may be an inappropriate venue for a young child, but it's hardly treacherous.
You're right. Now that goatse [goatse.cz] has been taken down, what child-warping threats are left?

Re:This is great but... (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995100)

I'll be damned. An insightful goatse link.

Re:This is great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995546)

"Why in the X was Y modded Z?" != Interesting, Informative, Insightful, Funny, nor On-Topic.

I'll be damned. An insightful goatse link.

You're odd.

Re:This is great but... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995256)

A real internet safety program for children, is simply a separate school-net just for children, which would be supervised and controlled, to ensure relatively safe interaction as well as acceptable content, a combination leisure and education network. In reality the greatest danger to children is and always will be other children, they oddly enough seem to lack the maturity and wisdom to be self supervising.

There is simply no way that you can make the wild wild web, safe and suitable for access by unsupervised children.

No Mandatory Parenting (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994878)

No, I don't want to see the state require what parents must teach their kids. Basic liberty and even biological diversity depend on parents exercising the maximum freedom possible in teaching their kids.

There is a good case for holding parents responsible when their kids break laws their parents should be responsible for teaching them not to break.

But schools should teach kinds the minimum that makes them safe. Kids whose parents already taught them will have it easy, and thereby get a reward, as well has see reinforced the stuff their parents teach them that most kids think is just their own parents' weird hangup, so they're more secure in following it.

And kids whose parents disagree with what the school teaches them can also teach their kids to ignore what the school teaches them, which is probably the most important lesson.

Re:No Mandatory Parenting (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994978)

There is a good case for holding parents responsible when their kids break laws their parents should be responsible for teaching them not to break.
That sounds like a great way to mandate parenting - But I fail to understand your post's title...

No, I don't want to see the state require what parents must teach their kids.
Agreed. But that debate gets really complicated when you start discussing how much influence parents have over what the state teaches them. Sure, the state is made up of its constituency. But, if a county votes in teaching Pastfarianism, do the teachers really have to teach it?

Re:No Mandatory Parenting (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995140)

There's a difference between the government ensuring kids know some things, and specifying that parents teach them those things. We're talking about consequences, which parents should be free to expect and encounter any way they want. If they think it's worth going to jail for their 15 year old mugging someone, because they didn't teach them not to, that's their business. The main benefit would be giving the kid a chance to finally learn the lesson, including seeing their delinquent parent going to jail, even if that lesson is just sticking to your principles (even of delinquency) despite the consequences. The lesson that there aren't free exceptions to consequences when someone is harmed by your actions.

Schools are going to teach all kinds of BS that parents won't approve, that kids shouldn't bother learning. Everyone agrees with the lines "When I think of all the crap I learned in high school / It's a wonder I than think of all" from Paul Simon's "Kodachrome". As I said, an extremely important lesson is learning how to learn something that you won't use, whether because it's useless, or because it's wrong, or whatever.

So yes, if a county votes in teaching Pastfarianism, unless it teaches something actually dangerous without any upside, or something clearly manufactured by a determined minority conning the majority of the people in the county that's wrong, then the school should teach it. And parents should exercise their far greater influence over their kids to teach them how to ignore Pastfarianism, or just what the "truth" is about Pastfarianism, even if the parents are wrong. If the kid has learned how to learn, and how to think for themself, they'll benefit from the duality, and pick what's right later.

Abdication of responsibility (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995060)

Some time ago school was a place you went to to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. Slowly schools are getting more loaded with stuff that should be taught by parents/community: sex ed, health studies, morals and ethics and now safe browsing.

Soon schools will also have to teach kids to dress: "Now remember class, you can't wear a striped shirt with plaid pants".

It does seem that school is getting to be less about education and more about daycare (so that parents can go and have careers instead of raising kids).

Re:This is great but... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995078)

You wouldn't believe some of the depravity [icanhascheezburger.com] on the Internet. (Seriously, it's not a "safe" place, but if you're Puritan, neither is the phone book, and the only guaranteed safe TV channel is one that is empty. Even Senators have been known to use profanity live.)

Better education would be the smartest move (and not just about the Internet), followed by "safe" (as in: non-controlling, non-manipulative, non-guilt-tripping, non-judgemental) support from trusted adults - not necessarily parents, and in many cases parents would be the worst option.

Some (maybe even many) kids will have an enquiring mind that won't tolerate obstrctions and would rather burn itself out trying than to give up. The worst thing that can happen is for such kids to be forced to back down. It can destroy their mind. I'm not joking. However, most of the areas that are likely to give parents concern are unlikely to be areas that obsessive geek kids are interested in. It should be easy enough to do a little steering to maximize what the kid learns, rather than cripple the kid to stop them encountering something that might hold their interest for a few seconds if just let go.

Re:This is great but... (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995136)

But I'd rather see mandatory parenting
It's not that easy. Last night while I was getting drunk and my bitch was whoring herself for crack, our 2 year old accidentally logged onto the internet and the next thing you know, the lamp was broken.

It could have been worse - she could have killed herself.

I just wish we lived in Virginia where we could get drunk and sell our bodies without fear that our kid will log onto the internet and get hurt.

Re:This is great but... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995440)

Speaking of which, there's much more serious dangers [xinhuanet.com] in most people's homes than the internet.

Re:This is great but... (1)

Bonker (243350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995154)

Compare to sex education. Parents typically can't do it or aren't effective when they do it. When real (read: abstinence only doesn't work) sex education occurs, teens almost universally have fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

In this case, parents are not NEARLY as internet saavy as their kids. Nor are they very motivated. They just want the kids to 'not do that'. That's the same logical trap as 'abstinence only'. The kids ARE going to do it.

If there's internet safety education in schools, the kids are going to have a little more knowledge than they would have otherwise. Accordingly, they'll be a little better able to protect themselves.

I'll support this if... (2, Funny)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995202)

They require internet safety belts, internet air bags, and internet car seats!

Re:This is great but... (2, Funny)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995338)

"This is a fine idea - The internet is a treacherous place for children."

Agreed. Now let's take it a step further: make it illegal for adults (over 18) to pose as children (under 18) online.

That would fix the 31-yr-old posing as 15-yr-old problem.

Re:This is great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995390)

>>"But I'd rather see mandatory parenting."

And kids from 12 to 16 or so studiously pay attention to their parents.

Re:This is great but... (1)

Strilanc (1077197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995542)

I was expecting lessons on how not to open weird emails then open their weird attachments. Why the hell isn't there a mandatory course for that?

Re:This is great but... (1)

darrinallen (1190379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995560)

you must be safe on the internet

kneejerk reaction (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994720)

from the nanny-state dept.

I know the usual kneejerk reaction here to any government act taken in regards to children is to immediately stick one's fingers in one's ears and shout NANNY STATE until one is hoarse, but I really don't see anything especially forbidding about teaching some basic internet safety skills in school.

Re:kneejerk reaction (4, Insightful)

Delwin (599872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994738)

I see it as on par with mandatory traffic safety. ... both of which I'm all for.

Re:kneejerk reaction (3, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995324)

Oh COME ON!! You know they won't teach the important stuff, like how to defend against a goatse attack. Do you expect some underpaid government nanny state social worker to be able to properly outline the correct the Natalie Portman and grits defense?! I guarantee you they have no idea about Godwin's law! These kids are doomed from the start!

Re:kneejerk reaction (2, Informative)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995534)

I agree that teaching children some basic lessons on internet use and safety isn't necessarily a bad idea in the modern world.

The thing that really troubles me though is the paranoid attitute underlying all this, and the reasons this descision was made, to quote TFA

Virginia's requirement initially stemmed from concerns about sex offenders preying on children online and a general increase in Internet-based crime. It took effect this school year.
Statistically a child in the US is 2.5 times more likely to be hit by lightning than to be the victim of abduction by a stranger. Cases of strangers abusing children are actually vanishingly rare events.

So by all means teach children about internet safety, but do so in a calm and rational way that adresses what real danger there is without trying to scare the hell out of them. The real danger here is that we bring up our children to be suspicious and mistrusfull of just about everyone, which actually has far more serious consequnces for society.

Probably offtopic, but I think maybe we should ask ourselves why the mass media spend so much of their energy blowing inconsequential dangers out of all proportion to create this generalised sense of fear, whose interests this serves, and why the hell we still listen. This is part of a general pattern, and looking at the society around me it seems to be having a profound effect.

Fine but (0, Offtopic)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994722)

I think a course in basic economics would be far more useful to far more people than Internet Safety.

Careful . . . (2, Insightful)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994766)

If teens stop running up huge credit card debt that there parents end up shouldering, the economy could become dangerously understimulated.

Re:Careful . . . (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994936)

If teens stop running up huge credit card debt that there parents end up shouldering, the economy could become dangerously understimulated.
Don't worry.
I'm sure this Internet Safety Lesson will teach them how to shop safely on the internet.

With their newfound confidence, they'll be able to spend more than ever!

Re:Fine but (3, Interesting)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995004)

I think a course in basic economics...

Really, a course in personal finances is better than a course in basic economics (I had both, personal finances in middle school, so it was limited to balancing a checkbook.) Basic economics doesn't really help in your day-to-day-life. Furthermore, the lack of nuance in basic economics can be pretty devestating to a person's understanding. For instance, I feel like most lassie-faire libertarians only studied basic economics, and thus their eyes glaze over when you talk about the need for government intervention to protect people from externalities, or that natural monopolies exist, are good, and need to be regulated.

There are other lassie-faire economists who are quite educated (moreso than me) and have more interesting points. But the average person seems to leave basic economics with 'completely free market == good, anything less == USSR'. With no ability to back it up, that kind of kneejerk reaction is just bad in any field.

Re:Fine but (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995050)

My mistake, I did mean personal finances. Economics would probably be good too, preferably before anyone is allowed to "discuss" such things as the current sub-prime situation.
Oh, and it's "laissez-faire"... lassie-faire sounds like a place for extremely devoted fans of a certain television celebrity dog.

Re:Fine but (3, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995116)

How about a course in basic economics for our own President! Forget the students! I just wish Bush knew this shiat,... ;-)

Re:Fine but (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995172)

I think a course in basic economics would be far more useful to far more people than Internet Safety.
True, but that's a tall order considering basic economics is only a stone-throw away from common sense which, I think we can all acknowledge, is not a trivial thing to teach. I'm assuming by 'basic' you mean simple things like making a budget, balancing your checkbook, and understanding the basics about loans and interest payments. While that is easy to teach at an intellectual level, it's difficult to actually change behavior. A kid may know that maxing out a 20% APR credit card is a bad financial move, but simply not care about it. A kid may know how to make a budget and simply chose not to out of laziness. How is any one class going to help with that? I took more advance economics classes in high school (AP macro and micro) but I don't see how that had any effect on me other than I now know how to invest a bit more wisely than I otherwise would.

What about television safety classes? (2, Interesting)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995366)

Television is far more damaging to youngsters. But of course, the industry and advertisers would never allow television safety classes since they want kids watching destructive content and buying junk food, becoming perfect little consuming sheep.

Do they warn users to avoid Digg? (4, Funny)

dmadzak (997352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994732)

or maybe it is better to keep all the mommy and daddy basement dwellers in a single location to keep an eye on them.

Re:Do they warn users to avoid Digg? (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995410)

It's not Digg that's the problem. People need to warned on how to not be rickrolled, and more importantly how to avoid goatse.

BTW, basements are cozy.

This just in . . . (4, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994746)

The lessons will take an "abstinence only" approach, and will feature a videotape titled Internet: A System of Tubes of Terror showing the like-true story of an 18 year old whose accepts an invitation to a slumber party that turns out to take place in the basement bedroom of a 320 lbs., 48 year old furry fan.

Re:This just in . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994918)

Keep my weight issues out of this you insensitive clod!

Re:This just in . . . (0)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994928)

Hey, at least they won't date Lucy Liu-bots!

Re:This just in . . . (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994984)

"abstinence only" approach

and if this was florida (...) I'd be guessing that the teens think that drinking a shot of bleach would remove any viruses from their computers...

(a fark.com ref. if you read fark, you'd get this ref.)

Abstinence only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995104)

Given the number of scams done via porn, that might actually work in this instance, assuming they would actually follow it.

Then again, don't pay for porn and don't install programs they claim you need to view porn are much more practical.

Not being greedy helps you avoid scams, too, for that matter.

Re:This just in . . . (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995146)

Actually, I was thinking that the title Semen Flows White on the Information Superhighway had a better ring to it,... ;-)

Fearmongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994780)

You know the kind of "Safety" lesson that will be provided. Sin, Shame, and everybody in the intertubes is a kiddy fiddler. I guess it makes a fine substitute for actually supervising your children when you are a lazy bastard....

A good idea that won't turn out well (5, Interesting)

jakek812 (958016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994808)

I'm a sophomore in high school in Maryland. My school has had people give speeches on Internet safety multiple times. Typically these lessons serve more to teach inaccuracies about the internet (as the people who teach them tend to know nothing about the internet) and scare people away from the internet based on those falsehoods, then actually teach people how to be safe on the internet. Obviously my experiences are not a guarantee of what will happen in Virginia, but as I said, I have been through these things multiple times and they have never turned out well.

Re:A good idea that won't turn out well (4, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995086)

Having done most of my education in Virginia (6th grade through PhD), I think I have some idea how this is going to go. First, the teachers will receive a bare minimum amount of instruction and education into this. There will be some cookie-cutter materials that the department of education will pass out, and they'll make teachers sit through some class. But the bulk of the instruction will consist of the teacher plopping an over-produced, over-dramatic, under-budgeted, cheesy videocassette into an old VCR that the school should have replaced last century with something more modern. The teachers will then do nothing more than to facilitate some type of bogus group discussion on this whole internet thing. And, of course, the students won't take it seriously at all. Because how can some grown up know more about the facebooks and myspaces out there -- "grown ups aren't supposed to use these things." So half the students will end up practically sleeping through it, and the other half will end up cracking wise-ass jokes at the teacher and getting smart. So the overall effectiveness of this will be essentially nil.

Oh wait, I forgot! The most important benefit of this program is actually for the state legislators who passed this, because it makes them look like they're "thinking of the children" and trying to "protect the precious little snowflakes", so that some numbnut can get re-elected and steal more money from the state's coffers. Yes folks, this is how politics works in Virginia. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Re:A good idea that won't turn out well (1)

jakek812 (958016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995386)

Having done most of my education in Virginia (6th grade through PhD), I think I have some idea how this is going to go. First, the teachers will receive a bare minimum amount of instruction and education into this. There will be some cookie-cutter materials that the department of education will pass out, and they'll make teachers sit through some class. But the bulk of the instruction will consist of the teacher plopping an over-produced, over-dramatic, under-budgeted, cheesy videocassette into an old VCR that the school should have replaced last century with something more modern. The teachers will then do nothing more than to facilitate some type of bogus group discussion on this whole internet thing. And, of course, the students won't take it seriously at all. Because how can some grown up know more about the facebooks and myspaces out there -- "grown ups aren't supposed to use these things." So half the students will end up practically sleeping through it, and the other half will end up cracking wise-ass jokes at the teacher and getting smart. So the overall effectiveness of this will be essentially nil.
I only wished that would be the way it happened, because then it would at least make for a funny joke. What really happens is they bring in some guest speaker who gives a speech in front of the whole grade and talks about how pedophiles can see anything you put up on Facebook, completely ignoring privacy settings while people actually pay attention and believe what is being said (though fortunately this is only the stupid people, the smart people know too just ignore that idiot speaker.)

Re:A good idea that won't turn out well (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995346)

What school? Any details?

If they are looking for tech-savvy volunteers maybe I'll see if I can volunteer.

Re:A good idea that won't turn out well (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995572)

Obviously my experiences are not a guarantee of what will happen in Virginia, but as I said, I have been through these things multiple times and they have never turned out well.

Virginia's internet is fed by different tubes than Maryland's, it's totally different.

Every School Should Have These Lessons... (1)

Sterrance (1257342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994810)

any excuse to get our of working in school is fine by me. I hope this is a mandatory college class I can get credits in.

Sounds good if it's accurate (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994816)

If what's taught is at all reasonable and accurate, this makes sense to me.

I imagine today's parents are probably young enough to figure it out, but not all of us are necessarily internet-aware in the way the current generation of children is.

This is a case where centralized teaching really does make more sense than parent-by-parent teaching, due to levels of experience and technological literacy needed. As long as it's just passing information, I'm all for it.

Probably going to be "Duck and Cover"... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995420)

It's probably going to be the equivalent of "Duck and Cover", rather than "Stop, Drop and Roll"...

Re:Sounds good if it's accurate (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995594)

I'm not so sure about that. I'm 27, I have 2 kids, and I'm pretty knowledgable about the internet. However, I know a lot of people the same age as me, who have no clue about the internet. I know people who don't even know how to bookmark a website. It's probably even worse for the parents of kids who are actually on the internet (mine are both under 2, so no real internet for them). Since most people wait until they are 30 until they have kids now (or so it seems), that means that a 13 year old's parents will be 43. That means the parents were born in 1965, and that they were 24 when the world wide web [wikipedia.org] was invented (1989). Just think about that for a moment. They never even had the internet when they were kids. and probably never went on the internet until after their kids were born. The first web browser didn't even exist until 1993. 2 years before this theoretical 13 year old was born. I really don't think most parents do know about the dangers of the internet. Neither do most politicians. Which is why you see so many "think of the children" type laws trying to protect children from the internet.

Licenses? (2, Interesting)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994834)

If I pass my internet safety class, do I get an internet license? And must I present proof of license to get internet service?

I mean, I actually like the idea of some sort of internet safety education (which I hope will also include teaching people how NOT to get their machines pwnt), I just don't see how it'll be enforced.

Re:Licenses? (3, Funny)

Jodaxia (312456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994922)

No you have to sign an EULA

Re:Licenses? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994930)

> If I pass my internet safety class, do I get an
> internet license? And must I present proof of
> license to get internet service?

Yes, to both.

See the same vice-Principal that gave you your sex license after you passed Sex-Ed. He will take you to the same back room where he gave you your sex license and final exam, and then you are free to surf the net and his video collection, where you will find your own Sex-Ed final exam published.

Surf carefully now....

Relevant education (3, Informative)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994904)

I wish schools would teach people about things they need to do in life such as how to get a house and all the necessary utilities, how to rent an apartment, how to open a bank account and what you might want to do to prepare your finances for the future, how to look for a job, etc.

And remember kids (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994924)

Don't forget to wear a condom when you are surfing on the interwebs!

Re:And remember kids (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995030)

Don't forget to wear a condom when you are surfing on the interwebs!

Since the only thing I can read this post is drawing a parallel to the (poster thinks is negative) "don't forget to wear a condom when you have sex", I'm going to disagree and state that I favor teaching safe-sex practices.

What happens if you fail the class? (1)

coolhaus (186994) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994992)

Do you have to ride the Internet Short Bus for the rest of your life?

Upon further inspection.. (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995036)

It was found that the convicted sex offender was, in fact, a 15 year old girl.

Great Idea (1)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995068)

But can we also make illiterate adults show up for them? Maybe stick it in as a requirement to take college courses or renew your insurance? So long as its not sponsored by certain major software companies or evangelists.

US to be first to educate youth against crusader.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995206)

propaganda. just a thought. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

A form of a test for this course? (1)

theyip1218 (1205666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995234)

Perhaps giving them multiple websites (real or not) with which they are trying to acheive the same goal: buy something, or maybe make a social networking profile. There would be bad websites, trying to steal your identity and whatnot, and good websites, which would be the goal to use.

So... (0)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995240)

the presenter showed a social-networking profile of a convicted sex offender posing as a 15 year-old girl.
So, the FBI is now hiring convicted sex offenders?

The only kind of internet safety lesson needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995252)

Kids, this is Goatse. Avoid Goatse at all costs. Oh... wait...

Good Idea, Won't Work (2, Interesting)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995266)

I don't think they're going to be able to get people who actually understand the risks of the Internet to teach these classes. They'll probably take the PE teachers or something, send the teachers to a workshop for a few hours or days to learn the curriculum, and the teachers will end up teaching straight from a workbook written by some bureaucrat. Still, it's a good idea in the abstract, and maybe they'll surprise us.

What would be really useful is a required course in basic computer security (e.g. always enable file extensions, don't run arbitrary programs that arrive in your email inbox, don't trust the website that says "download this for free smilies in AIM!").

What kind of predator? (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995288)

What kind of predator would pretend being a 15-year-old girl? One trying to trap a straight guy?

It sounds like a Craigslist posting.

Re:What kind of predator? (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995372)

A) One trying to befriend another 15 yo girl.

B) A sexual predator with a sexual predator fetish.

Re:What kind of predator? (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995606)

From the article:

a 15-year-old who says she enjoys being around boys and wants to meet new people. The real profile user turned out to be a 31-year-old man convicted of sexually abusing 11 children he met online and sentenced to a 45-year prison term.


Confusing, right?

Good idea! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995298)

Let's start by mandating them for adults, too!

Seriously, if you have more than, say, five toolbars in your browser, I will not help you with anything other than a full format and reinstall. Learn to not download spyware.

Also, spam obviously works, or there wouldn't (still!) be so much of it. Stop paying these fuckers!

I'll pay for these classes... (1)

shyberfoptik (1177855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995304)

...if in exchange we quit passing laws intended to save children from the internet.

Yay... (2, Funny)

Symbha (679466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995316)

Now they can start teaching kids how to pass the No Child Left Online test...

Argh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995318)

At first I thought, "Great! Kids should be taught how not to get caught by phishing, how to be safe about viruses and spyware, and how not to spread their own (and my) email addresses to spammers. If everyone got on the same page with privacy and security, the overall problem would be greatly diminished."

Then I kept reading and groaned. I suspect kids (and everyone else) are far more likely to be threatened by the above than to ever even chat with a sex predator. Huzzah for fear mongering!

Will this compare to current US Sex Ed.? (1)

krovisser (1056294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995418)

Is this going another failure like our stupid abstinence program?

I remember the sex ed. teacher saying: "These condom things, they just don't work. They break all the time. You'll get sick. And die. Just don't have sex at all."

Newsflash: 1/4 US teens has an STD...

I can see it now: "This internet thing, it just is so dangerous. There's all kinds of nude pictures, controversial information and videos, none of which you hormonal, impulsive teenagers would ever be interested in. You'll get sick. And die. Just don't use the internet at all."

I'm guessing it will be taught by completely inept teachers who have no clue, just like the rest of those non-core classes in HS

Online class? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22995428)

Do you think they are going to make this an online course?

More info (2, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995502)

From the VA Department Of Education [virginia.gov] . They even have some nifty power points. /grumble

I really like this (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995504)

I mean, it could be done so badly, like abstinence-only sex education. But, IMHO, this kind of thing could be handled well and be extremely useful.

Censoring things is the option most people seem to have chosen, and that's a horrible, horrible choice.

Why not cover all the bases? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995506)

Certainly, this is just another "think of the children" program, intended to scare kids shitless with the idea that everyone in the world is on a mission to touch their naughty bits. But why not also teach them about some more useful bits of Internet safety, like techniques for avoiding malware, phishing, and other scams? Such a lesson will serve these kids for the rest of their lives.

Ugh at TFA, but.... (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995518)

If the "lessons" are as well thought-out and written as TFA, then yeah, as most people suspect, we have Another Empty Gesture To Feel Morally Sup- Uh I Mean Save The Children (and TFA shoulda used the Preview button... sheesh :P ).

On the other hand... i teach at a tech school... and you gotta remember that all the info we steep ourselves in daily and take for granted is not sought out by most people. Its existence, i would even assert, is not really even GUESSED at by most people - judging by the reactions of students when i go into Spam, Malware, identity theft, internet scams, botnets... most people have NO idea about 99% of the stuff we just assume is part of reality.

I'm serious, and i was midly surprised at first - Students range from late teens to un- or underemployed adults seeking retraining - but it turns out, reading tech websites isn't a popular pastime with urban teens and young adults.

Amazingly, also, even though most teens to 20somethings are well known for believing themselves indestructible and invincible, they don't stop and pause in the face of sobering anecdotes about how Bad Things Happen To (other) People, even when it happens on the internet.

Bottom line: we keep whining about the "ignorant users." Okay. We hate when they make stupid choices. All right. We roll our eyes when they display their ineptitude. Fair enough.

Hmm, maybe they should... take a class or something?

Gotta start somewhere. And if this program manages to pound through the collective skulls of just a FEW of these kids that they need to be as careful on the internet as they should be anywhere else, i'll call it a GOOD start.

Hey! Shit... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995536)

That's my profile they talk about in the article! :\
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