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In March, PCSD families came together to learn how they could Be Internet Awesome

Families attending Be Internet Awesome in March April 20, 2020

 

Are you and your family internet safe‭, ‬secure and kind‭?‬

This was the question students and their families thought about and discussed during Be Internet Awesome‭!, ‬a program hosted by the Parma Council of PTAs‭.‬

Made possible through a‭ $‬5,000‭ ‬grant from National PTA and Google‭, ‬the program was planned for three nights at in March at Parma‭ ‬Senior High from 6‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m‭. ‬Elementary and High School nights were held‭, ‬however‭, ‬the Middle School night was not able to be held‭. ‬PCPTA plans to reschedule this night for students and families when they can‭.‬

Students and families explored age-appropriate topics surrounding internet safety‭, ‬such as cyberbullying‭, ‬safe passwords‭, ‬sharing too much information‭, ‬connecting with strangers and inappropriate content‭. ‬They also worked on how to set boundaries and expectations for healthy online behavior‭.‬

“Things are constantly changing in the internet world and the conversations get harder and harder as kids get older so establishing that relationship early is helpful‭,‬”‭ ‬shared Angela Marvin‭, ‬Parma Council of PTAs Recording Secretary who helped lead the information nights‭. ‬“We want to share things that parents aren’t aware of that are going on online‭. ‬We may think we know‭, ‬but we don’t know all of the apps the kids are on‭, ‬the cyberbullying that is happening‭, ‬and some of the stressful interpersonal relationships that are happening online‭, ‬especially in the middle and high schools‭.‬”‭  ‬

The program focused on five pillars of being internet awesome‭: ‬Smart‭, ‬Alert‭, ‬Strong‭, ‬Kind and Brave‭. ‬At the event‭, ‬families were‭ ‬split among the five pillars and discussed real-life experiences and worked through scenarios with the information provided by‭ ‬Google‭. ‬There was also a discussion on how to be a good digital citizen‭.‬

“It was interesting to hear discussions because families were really getting involved and asking their kids questions‭,‬”‭ ‬Parma Council of PTAs President Heather Ekechi commented‭. ‬“In talking to some of the parents‭, ‬they were pleased to have this because they don’t think their kids would have necessarily touched on this topic‭. ‬It’s really important to gain that trust between the parent and the child so when they get older‭, ‬they feel comfortable sharing when things do come up on the internet‭.‬”

Along with good discussion topics and new knowledge about the internet‭, ‬everyone who attended received a gift bag at the end of‭ ‬the night full of resources‭, ‬including a‭ ‬‘Be Internet Awesome’‭ ‬guide from Google and the chance to win a Google Pixelbook‭.‬

The Be Internet Awesome‭! ‬workshops and grant program are part of National PTA’s PTA Connected Initiative‭, ‬which helps provide digital safety tools and resources‭, ‬as well as engage families and teachers in best practices and generate collective impact‭.‬

Marvin said they were only one of 18‭ ‬groups to receive this grant this school year‭, ‬which made her and PCPTA very proud‭.‬

“I hope families continue to have these conversations at home and explore further the tools and resources that we touch on during‭ ‬the presentation‭,‬”‭ ‬Marvin expressed‭. ‬“I want kids to know that they don’t have to navigate all of these things on their own‭, ‬they can go to adults with it‭. ‬I think to share that adults struggle with some of these things‭, ‬too‭, ‬help open it up and make it a partnership‭.‬”

“If anything‭, ‬this was another evening for families to talk to their children‭,‬”‭ ‬Ekechi added‭. ‬“A lot of times they don’t have these family table discussions anymore‭, ‬so I feel like this was a very important opportunity for them‭. ‬Also‭, ‬it’s a chance to talk to other families and have a discussion that they might never have at home‭. ‬I hope this helps opens communication lines with their children‭.‬”

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Families gather at Parma Senior High School in March for Be Internet Awesome‭. ‬This program was funded through a‭ $‬5,000‭ ‬grant made possible by National PTA and Google‭.‬