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My Internet Safety Story Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Moni Sallam, i-SAFE mentor, Oct 3, 2005
Technology , Digital Literacy   Opinions


My Internet Safety Story My name is Moni Sallam. I’m in 9th grade. I was having a really boring Sunday afternoon back in December of 2003, no soccer, no good football games on TV (my favorite team, the Redskins were out of the playoffs). I was flipping between reading, playing computer games and surfing the high 800s of my satellite channels (you know I had to be really bored)! Luckily for me, I landed on a channel that was playing a professional development course on Internet Safety taught by the staff at i-SAFE.

What I heard shocked me! It had never occurred to me before this moment that most kids, including all my friends and kids I know, do not act safely and responsibly while online. For example, kids are taught never to speak to strangers they might meet at the mall or who may stop their car to chat, yet kids freely speak to strangers on the Internet. According to i-SAFE, more than 50% of kids think it’s okay to do this, and to meet someone they chatted with online in person.

While most kids would never walk into Best Buy and steal a CD, so many kids see nothing wrong with illegally downloading music from the Internet; some actually think it’s legal under certain circumstances! While most kids know that copying off a friend’s test is cheating, many kids see nothing wrong with copy and pasting from the Internet without recognizing the source.

I decided on that day, that I would try to do something to change that. I contacted i-SAFE to become a peer mentor. Since then, I organized an Internet Safety week at my school (Information lunch table, Poster contest, Parents’ Night, Community Leaders Meeting, Student orientation); Both the spring before last and this past spring I was able to talk about Internet Safety at a county-wide event with kids from every school in my county. I have spoken to kids at different middle schools as part of their Internet Safety activities and I have plans to help an elementary school conduct an Internet Safety week this coming fall.

I was able to speak with the head of curriculum for the county where I live to convince her to add Internet Safety education to the health and safety curriculum, which she agreed to do.

One of the most memorable things I did was to join i-SAFE and members of the senate and congress to talk about the importance of Internet Safety education, i-SAFE and i-SAFE’s i-STIK program. It’s been an exciting and rewarding few years working as an i-SAFE peer mentor. Now, I’m in high school and I will be able to expand my i-SAFE activities hopefully by starting an i-SAFE club (to get more kids to help spread the word).

Remember some basic safety tips when you’re online:

- Don’t give out identifying information, such as your name, address, phone number, email address, likes or dislikes while on the Internet – predators can use this information to pretend to share your exact same interests and to gain your trust.
- Never send pictures of yourself to someone you don’t know, post pictures of yourself in a public profile or attach a picture to an IM to someone you don’t know – pictures can be manipulated to show you doing something embarrasing.
- Do not download or duplicate copyrighted stuff, like songs and movies – it is illegal.
- And never contact or meet someone in person that you have met online. This is extremely risky behavior and can end up in disaster. So many kids and teens have been abused or even killed by “online friends” they have agreed to meet in person!

So GET INVOLVED! The best way to feel really good about yourself is to help others.



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comment for moni sallam
Charyza | Nov 1st, 2005
hi,my name is charyza,and i'm 11th grade. (i'm sorry if there's a problem for me to write in english,because i still learning it) I've already read your article. And I really agree on your opinion that said most of the kids didn't know anything about the responsibilities when they were online (so did I). And they didn't understand how to faced it. Fortunately,it's really a great idea for you to told them about internet safety. But i want to ask you something. You said that most kids saw nothing wrong with illegally downloading music from the internet. So,what if they didn't know about it? what if they didn't know it because there's no some warning about downloading music from the internet? So,I think,it's not those kids fault if they didn't know anything about that downloading thing. Now,can you tell me your opinion? thx...

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