Keeping kids safe online - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Keeping kids safe online

(HawaiiNewsNow) - Now more than ever, kids are utilizing social media like Facebook, blogging and Twitter. But with all these technological advances, it's also important to keep them safe. Bryson Poulton, director of Kahi Hoku Kai, joins us this morning.

Keep Your Keiki Safe
Internet Safety Tips

  • Sharing vs. over-sharing
  • Check "revealing" photos
  • Create your own account
  • Always communicate

Survey Important Because Hawaii Excluded in Most National Surveys A few years ago texting, facebooking, and blogging would have all been completely foreign terms but today these activities are an integral part of a teenager's or child's life. But parents and adults in Hawaii do not fully understand how children are using technology or how to ensure their safety while they are using it.

Kahi Hoku Kai is a Hawaii advocacy and outreach organization that has created a new website and survey that aims to understand a parent's point of view when it comes to their children's online activities. The web site, KeikiSafeOnline.org, seeks to educate parents and adults about these issues. According to Kahi Hoku Kai's Director, Brysen Poulton, the primary objective of the project is to encourage families and communities throughout Hawaii to take action when it comes to online safety. "We believe this survey and its results, along with other efforts we will be making in the near future, can help families discuss internet activities with their children, set appropriate parameters and then make their children and teens apart of this decision making process," Poulton said.

The website includes links to local and national news, safety tips, a survey, online resources, and video on-demand and a section for educators are just some of the resource on the site.

Now more than ever parents and other adults need to have a better understanding of how their children use technology to avoid proven pitfalls on the Internet like cyber bullying, sexual predators, and identity theft that exist today. "Everyone from law enforcement officials to technology industry experts as well as family and community advocates we have talked to all indicate that it is difficult to create an informative message for the community when so little is known about what Hawaii parents and others community members see as issues and concerns,"

Poulton said. "With this in mind we worked with a national expert to develop a survey that would look specifically at how Hawaii sees the issue of online safety for their keiki. We hope that people will take advantage of this unique opportunity to sound off on what is a very important issue and what matters most to them." Earlier this month the Pew Center on the Internet and American Life and the Kaiser Foundation released the results of surveys about online safety for children and teens that focused solely on the lower forty eight states excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

He also said that recent events seem to suggest that concern over internet activities in Hawaii should be of greater concern to parents and families.

In December Lahaina high school students were involved in a mixed martial arts-style fight that was filmed and posted on the Internet. A video of the fight, on the Web site YouTube, shows a group of boys wearing shorts and T-shirts and throwing punches and kicks on a basketball court as a crowd of people looked on. At the end of the video, which lasted one minute and 45 seconds, one boy is shown lying on the ground and cradling his head. And earlier this week Kamehameha Schools took disciplinary action against students who created a video containing sexual content and then distributed it among other students via a social networking site the school said. Kamehameha took further action by notifying police of the incident.

This marks the first time in Hawaii that a survey on internet safety has been conducted with the sole intent of providing the results to the larger local community. The results of the survey will be published on the KeikeSafeOnline web site and also be made available to local media. To be part of this ground breaking initiative please visit www.keikisafeonline.org and look for the survey link.

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