Smith Elementary teaching students computer and Internet safety – News & Observer

Students at Smith Elementary are discovering its never too early to learn the ins and outs of technology.

Last week, Smith Elementary School partnered with T&T Creative Group in Raleigh to pilot a technology club at the school called “Tweens & Technology.”

Throughout the week, a group of fifth-grade students learned about computer information systems, software for the computer, Internet and social media safety and Skyped with South American students. Last Friday, they eagerly gathered around a computer to see what the inside of the computer looked like and how it operated.

“Our world is so technology driven now and they are moving into a world that everything is technology driven,” Smith principal Kimberly Mitchell said. “The more of a headstart we can get them and the more confidence we can build in them now and the more we can teach them effective practices now, the more they can build on those skills to make them more effective as they get older.”

But as the Internet continues to progress, the potential dangers also tend to increase. For instance predators will pose as younger children through fake profiles.

During a session about Internet safety, speakers taught the students how to deal cyberbullying and how to be aware of predators on the Internet.

Jacqui Moody, PTA president at Smith Elementary, said cyberbullying and predators on the Internet can be scary for a parent.

“We have to be vigilant,” Moody said. “We need to know exactly what we’re doing and what our children are doing on the computer and on our phones.”

“It is frightening, because it’s hidden,” Moody added. “You don’t know. Someone may say I’m your age and they’re not. So you have to be very careful and that requires a parent to be involved.”

Smith Elementary hopes to make the Tweens & Technology Club a permanent group next year. Each student in the club took home a refurbished computer courtesy of The Franciscan School in Raleigh.

Derrick Thompson, the owner of T&T Creative Group, said he wants to start the program for third-graders because that is where the interest in technology begins. He said those children don’t know the safety tips or how to properly use a computer.

“In middle school and high school there are a lot of programs out there that are part of the school system that help them,” Thompson said. “So we want to catch them early enough and expose them to it so they feel comfortable enough to take advantage of all these great programs that are already doing well.”

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