Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why the Internet is like the Mall

Today,  in anticipation of the Global Read Aloud Project, I started  my first lesson on internet safety.  And yes, students have been taught about internet safety before by my fabulous technology teacher, yet I wanted to cover all bases one more time.  So last night, when I was pondering my lesson, it came to me: compare the internet to the mall.

Today, I therefore told the students that going on the internet is like going to the mall without your parents' supervision.  So what would they do to stay safe at the mall?  Some of the students answers were that they would not talk to strangers, give anyone their information, and they would also go straight to the place they were supposed to go without stopping at other stores.  Those lessons can be applied directly to the internet and the students got it!  I had so many light bulbs go off, I could barely contain myself.

By having the students provide the safety rules, taken from their own memory of rules drilled into their heads by their formidable parents, they connected real life danger with things that can happen on the internet.  Sometimes students think they are safe on the net, as we all know, and this brought the responsibility home for them.  So as we continue learning proper safety and etiquette, we will keep referring back to the mall analogy, for example, would you walk up to a friend and tell them their outfit was ugly when talking about how to comment?  Today was one of those moments where I was able to make students understand something they have to learn in this day and age.  A lesson not just meant for 4th graders or 5th graders but hopefully something they will keep in the back of their minds when they go on the internet themselves, or maybe even next time they go to the mall.  Once again today I realized how huge my responsibility is for these kids and how glad I am to be their teacher.  We are now one step closer to the global connections!

8 comments:

Strongarm said...

Great analogy and it obviously worked well. Thanks for sharing.

Carl said...

Great connection!

Julie Cunningham said...

LOVE this! I think it's vitally important to teach them that they're not 'anonymous' online, and to behave like they would in a real-life situation with strangers. Your blog is one of my new favorites!

teacherdebra said...

Excellent analogy; one I will definitely share with my classes. I use a similar one when I talk about not sharing passwords. I ask them how many people they give their locker combinations to or how many of their friends have keys to their house. They begin to get it when I put it that way.

Sarah said...

Thanks for this post. I love the analogy. I am continuing my class blog but in a new school next year and will definitely be using this analogy.

Asmodien said...

Excellent analogy. I look forward to trying this approach with my own students.

tammy said...

Great post with great ideas. I just wanted to share a great book about internet safety. It's called "Dear Jo: the story of losing Leah..." http://www.lobsterpress.com/title.php?id=47

In BC we have annual Red Cedar Awards for children's books, and I believe this was last year's fiction winner. The book is well-written, especially for our "reluctant readers" and suits ages 9 to about 15, depending of course on the child. The book is a fictional story about two friends who get involved with online chatrooms, and interestingly culminates in a mall. But I'm not going to tell any more than that.

I do like the mall analogy, however I'd want to address the situation where someone online can pretend to be someone they're not. I'm thinking about ways to make that real for kids, without scaring them. Fine line? I'm not sure.

When / if I figure that out, I'll let you know :)

lizabeth said...

Hi, I just read your post via Stephen Anderson's live binder on internet safety http://livebinders.com/shelf/search_author?terms=steven.anderson (for all his excellent binders) and I want to thank you for such a wonderful analogy. I teach 6th and 7th and can't think of a better example!

 

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