The bill directs the Commissioner of Education to develop age-appropriate resources and technical assistance for schools to provide to students in grades three through twelve, and their parents or legal guardians, concerning the safe and responsible use of the Internet.
“Today’s children do not know a world without computers,” said Senator Saland. “While the Internet has provided us with instant communication and access to a wealth of information, it has also presented us with unanticipated dangers. In a series of Internet Safety Forums I conducted in my district in 2006, we learned how pedophiles lure unsuspecting children and how prevalent and dangerous cyber bullying has become. Providing age-appropriate information will help parents teach their children how to use the Internet responsibly, including how to recognize and deal with potential predators and bullies.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2006 one in five children, ages ten to seventeen, received an unwanted sexual solicitation online, but only 25% of children who have been solicited told a parent according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In addition, increasing numbers of children are subjected to intimidation, harassment and bullying via the computer. A 2004 survey by I-SAFE, a non-profit youth Internet safety foundation, reported that 42% of children have been bullied while online and 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. Often students do not report improper contacts or bullying for fear of losing access to the Internet or because they are unprepared to deal with these challenges. This bill will provide the resources to help them navigate the Internet safely and know when to tell their parents or a trusted adult when something is wrong.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.