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October is Keeping Kids Safe Online Month

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October is ‘Keeping Kids Safe Online Month’ in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), designated the month three years ago to highlight the need for responsible internet practices for schools and families.

This month, we will highlight several resources that help integrate safe and healthy online practices in the classroom and in the home.

A major focus will be on the connection between positive online choices and the Wisconsin Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies. Embedded in the new WI SEL Competencies are perspective, compassion, empathy, and the ability to understand how decisions will affect other people. These are foundational skills that can help students make safe and healthy choices while using digital tools and media.

There are many ways we can engage families in supporting such healthy choices, whether it is sending information home, sharing it online, or hosting local learning opportunities.

Recently, DPI’s Digital Learning Consultant, Chad Kliefoth, supported the Middleton Cross-Plains School District by sharing the foundations to fostering safe online experiences for families. Parents and children worked through the online, interactive e-course called Interact, which was created by the DPI and the DOJ.

Chad Kliefoth presenting
Chad Kliefoth providing information for families.

This e-course takes an interactive approach to open up discussions about online safety in the home through watching videos, navigating online scenarios, and completing a family media plan.

parent working with children
One family discussing internet safety through the Interact module.

Kliefoth facilitated families working through the information while learning from them about how positive the experience was to work together. “Just the engagement that happened because of the Interact module was really cool,” he said. “The module provides great conversation starters with prompts for parents and kids to talk about together.”

When the time came for families to create a family media plan, Kliefoth provided example plans for everyone to use as potential models.

family working together on the module
Another family working through the Interact module together.

The Interact module is a meaningful method that districts, schools, and libraries can promote for families to engage in conversations about boundaries for digital media usage.

What’s Next

Each week, this month, there will be a theme of Keeping Kids Safe Online in October with corresponding resources to support the integration of safe and healthy online practices in the classroom and at home.

All stakeholders can access a lesson planning matrix outlining the themes for each week (at the bottom of the page) to break down the resources into more manageable pieces for discussion and application.

All year, the WI DOJ and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force produce the Protecting Kids Online Podcast which features topics and resources for keeping children safe online.

For more information, visit the DPI Internet and Online Safety web page and the Keeping Kids Safe Online web page, and access the Interact e-course.

Stay connected and learn more about keeping kids safe online during October and beyond: