Knox County Schools expands online safety training for students

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Schools has expanded online safety training for students. In addition to existing training in classrooms, the school system is now implementing more detailed classes for students at all grade levels.

Christine Oehler, principal at Powell Middle School, said teachers have teamed up to provide online safety training specifically on digital footprint.

“Sometimes it’s hard for our students to conceptualize the fact when they put something online it’s out there for literally anyone in the world to see who has access,” said Oehler.

Oehler said as much as middle school students think they know about social media, it has been surprising to see how open and engaged they have been through the lessons.

“I also think it’s very eye-opening for them. A lot of times we have these conversations, we really see that ‘aha’ moment, where they say they’ve never really thought about it before,” said Oehler.

With new apps and games popping up all the time, mother of three Jamie Fromberger uses a device to keep track of her children’s online use, including apps and other ways she keeps tabs on them.

“It’s changing every day. It’s a constant struggle,” said Fromberger.

Fromberger, who is also an educator alongside Street Hope TN, a non-profit promoting online safety, said parents need to be engaged, have open conversations with their children and know what apps they are using online.

“Even though it is daunting, it’s almost negligent to not,” said Fromberger.

John McCulley, senior web developer at Moxley Carmichael, encourages parents to set up their own accounts to follow their children. He also suggested downloading apps that help track your child’s usage.

“It’s easy to say I don’t need a Snapchat, an Instagram, but that’s where they are so you have to go be where they are,” said McCulley.

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