As increasing numbers of students take online classes, lessons in Internet safety are becoming key parts of curriculum.

Tanya Petty thought taking her children out of school and home-schooling them would protect them from bullies and other dangers.

Her three children take online classes from their living-room computer, and Petty now understands that bullies, predators and other dangers still exist — but in a different form.
“It’s eye-opening,” said Petty, whose children are enrolled in Connections Academy — a virtual public school for kindergartners through ninth-graders.

Petty says her children spend up to six hours a day online, and though the home computer has filters and her children have been taught not to provide personal information, the family’s electronic mailbox still gets troubling correspondences.

One recent e-mail was obvious in its intent, she said.

“It was a dating-type thing,” Petty said. “They were soliciting for a date. It was an obvious solicitation for sex.”

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