- Parma City School District
In March, PCSD families came together to learn how they could Be Internet Awesome
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.