Lesson Plan for Teachers


Via e-mail and chat rooms - communication is the name of the game. To be sure, the 'game' is fun, but there are some very real dangers associated with communicating with people online. One of the prime attractions for kids on the Internet is having an e-mail address where they send and receive messages. Schools oftentimes provide students and classrooms an e-mail address. A state-of-the-art filtering system and direct adult supervision are necessities for kids who are just learning to use e-mail. Because many kids also have home access to e-mail - it is vital for teachers and parents to coordinate their efforts. There are many advantages in using e-mail. However - youngsters must learn the responsibilities and the dangers associated with it.

Chat rooms can be a great way to 'meet' new friends. The problem is that many young people view chats, and the Internet - as a kind of imaginary fun zone which has nothing to do with reality. The truth is that while chat rooms are fun, there are some very real risks, too. You cannot take things at face value in chat rooms - especially when you can't see someone's face, know their true identity or intention.

Being cautious when talking to people you don't know is not only smart, it is the best way to protect oneself from trouble. The rule is to never share personal information - your name, address, phone number, etc., with strangers - or accept unknown correspondence.

While honesty may be the best policy, not everyone plays by that rule. Kids must be taught that there are those who never play fair, and will say anything to gain their confidence - and intrude into their life. Chat rooms are the online equivalent of having pen pals. The difference is that pen-pal friendships develop slowly over time. Warn your kids to be wary of people who try to gain their trust by being too friendly and too helpful, too quickly. While chat rooms and e-mail are amongst the most popular online activities for kids - they are also the primary locales where Web-related child exploitation takes place or begins.

1) What's a 'safe' e-mail message, and what's not safe?
2) What are viruses and why are some e-mail attachments dangerous?
3) Is it ever safe to meet a chat room acquaintance in person?


L. E. A. R. N.

Teachers' Chalkboard


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