What do internet safety and pulled pork have in common?

Not too much, besides the fact that they were both the two most important things going on at the King George County Internet Safety Night. Both middle and high school students in King George County use the My Digital Life program to gain a greater grasp on both the incredible potential that positive technology usage holds in their lives and the risks that come from poor decision making such as cyber-bullying or sexting.

KGCS Cyber SecurityI was given the chance to share some our most recent findings from our Insight Report: Digital Citizenship and Young Teens at King George Middle School. What did we find out from our study of over 5,500 13-17 year olds? A few things:

• Kids are gaining more and more access. Over 90 percent of the students surveyed said they have access to the internet at home.
• Some kids spend a lot of time online, some don’t. While 31 percent of our sample said they spend less than an hour online a day, 13 percent reported spending more than five hours each day online.
• The more time kids spend online, the more likely they will say that mom or dad do not know what they are doing.
• The small group of kids who spend a lot of unsupervised time online are more likely to engage in poor decision making online.
• Only half of the young teens in this same sample would stop an online conversation and report it to an adult if it become too personal or troubling.

students_on_vaultThe biggest takeaway: we need to equip kids with a more comprehensive skill set to safely navigate their digital worlds. Their personal and professional lives depend upon their ability to make good decisions both online and off.

A big thank you and tip of the hat to King George County for putting on a fantastic evening filled with great food and engaged community members supporting their kids in developing these critical digital life skills.