WISE

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Today’s increasing reliance on the Internet for education and communication has many positive benefits. But, the constant, immediate, and often anonymous nature afforded by the Internet, social networking, and gaming sites also creates many risks.

According to a Pew survey conducted during 2014 and 2015, 94 percent of teens who go online using a mobile device do so daily. Teens use multiple social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular, and 71 percent of teens say they use more than one social media site.

As children spend more time online, there is greater opportunity for them to become exposed to negative influences – such as substance abuse. In addition, they are more likely to become a target of cyber-predators. And, the permanency of Internet posts can have negative impacts well into adulthood.

wise-owl-webWhy Internet Safety is Essential is a classroom program designed for students in grades 4-6.

This program, which uses interactive teaching techniques, educates on the dangers of the Internet, describes potential consequences, and tells students the best way to respond to cyber-bullying.

Two weeks prior to the in-school presentation, students are given a survey to determine their knowledge about these critical issues. A post-program survey is used to determine changes in students’ knowledge. Survey results are compiled by the University of Kentucky Prevention Research Center and shared with school officials.

During the 2016-17 school year, UNITE is piloting this program in schools served by its UNITE Service Corps, with hopes of expanding in the 2017-18 school year.