I loved this post because I know how many people will be up in arms over the very thought.
Somehow, teaching students to use the internet safely has become one of those topics that seems to live a dark color with sex education, drug education, and stranger education. In this new millennium, we are still suffering from a heavy dose of, “If we don’t talk about it, students will never know it exists.”
In this day and age, students are being bombarded with learning opportunities from every direction. The schools only see them a smaller part of the day, and then they are watching television. They’re listening to the radio. They’re hanging out with long-distance friends online. If you aren’t talking with them about “controversial” topics, you can bet someone else is.
My point here is that not talking about something doesn’t make it go away, and taking the time to talk with a young person about any of these topics will actually help because they’ll know how you feel on the topic, and you’ll know that at some point, you had some input on what they know about the topic.
Don’t hide it. Don’t tell them not to do it. Educate them about it. Educate them about the potential consequences. Enable them to make an informed decision, and then trust them to make it. It’s part of growing up, and not giving them this opportunity may actually rob them of the ability to handle issues later on in life.