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Guidelines Aim to Help Special Education Students Stay Safe Online

April 14, 2016

Although social media is seen as a valuable educational tool for students, the dangers of the web require specific guidelines and careful regulation--especially for special education students with trouble communicating, says expert Kortney Peagram. Peagram, a psychologist who works to reduce cyberbullying, gave NPR a list of these guidelines that are meant to protect students online.

First and foremost, Peagram recommends that teachers have a “classroom contract” of five or so rules that students understand before going online. The rules should be clear and concise, Peagram said. Students should also be given a structure and a time limit for time spent online and use of social media; students with a lack of impulse control are more likely to abuse screen time.

"In [Peagram’s] classroom, she uses phone checks as a reward. If a student completes their worksheets and does all their activities, then they get a five minute phone-use period at the end of class,” according to the NPR segment.

"Ultimately, she recommends device use three to five times a day, for 5-30 minutes at a time. At home, she suggests phones be kept and charged in a common area, so kids don't bring them to bed and lose sleep online.”

Peagram also says that the rules should be consistently adhered to in order to ensure an understanding is established, and that parents and teachers should also be monitoring the accounts and sites kids are using.

"Parents and teachers can monitor a students' circle of friends for clear warning signs, like big age differences, accounts that seem fake, or people posting inappropriate material,” Peagram said.

(Source: educationworld.com)


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