Parents, schools, and students will soon have a new tool for online safety education.
The national Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Facebook are joining forces to promote internet safety through a set of tools and resources for children, schools, and parents.
The world’s largest online social network and the National PTA will work together to build a program to provide information and support about such issues as cyber bullying, good online citizenship, and internet security.
Because the partnership is just starting, officials do not have much detail on what kinds of resources they plan to offer through their respective web sites and through other means. But Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said the plan is to educate kids not just about being on Facebook, but also about being online.
He said “the sooner we can get instilling responsible behavior, the better.”
The PTA will reach out to local parent-teacher groups to promote the program, while Facebook plans to do the same on its web site.
Anne Collier, co-director of Connectsafely.org, a forum about online safety issues, said the deal combining Facebook’s broad reach and the PTA’s relationship with schools and parents “makes a lot of sense.”
“Citizenship online and offline needs to be a part of the child’s life,” she said. “It needs to be taught at school and at home—it’s not just a digital thing.”
Child safety advocate Parry Aftab also welcomed the program, and said it’s important for parents not to be scared of technology but to use it to their advantage to communicate with their kids.
“It’s not about turning it off any more, it’s not about scare tactics,” Aftab said. “It’s all about teaching our kids the skills they need to survive in this digital world.”
The announcement comes less than a week after a federal task force issued a report encouraging educators and parents to avoid “scare tactics” when teaching kids about online safety and instead focus on promoting responsible digital citizenship at all grade levels.