PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - Port Chester Middle School hosted a seminar conducted by award-winning Internet safety expert Isabel Burk last week inside the school's auditorium. The presentation, which was also translated into Spanish, focused on the hazards the Internet can pose to young children.
"Our children are digital natives," Burke said to the audience. "I'm a digital immigrant. I'm still learning the language and making mistakes along the way."
Burke cited societal changes in the past decades to explain how things have evolved with the use of computers and the availability of televisions. According to Burke, more than 67 percent of today's children have television sets in their bedrooms and the average teen sends more than 3,000 text messages a month either on a smart phone or computer.
"When I was a kid there was only one television set in the house, and it was in the living room," Burke said. "Nowadays we have parents saying their children are making texting motions while they sleep."
Burke preached that parents should establish ground rules for their children at an early age. That way a pattern of behavior is established to moderate technology consumption.
"It's been proven that what kids get used to they will stick with for a while," Burke said.
While the presentation centered on the hazards of the Internet, Burke was quick to acknowledge the positives of living in the digital age. Burke specifically referenced YouTube as a tool that can be surprisingly educational.
"Sometimes when we think about YouTube and online video we think of scary stuff, but its not all scary, some of it's brilliant," Burke said. "The challenge is you can't always tell what something is until youre looking at it."
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