Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guide to Cyber Ethics

There is danger in the virtual world of the Internet that parents should be concerned about - the possibility of their kids being exposed to, and becoming victims of, spam mail, offensive websites, photographs and sexual videos that have been circulating in the web.

Recognizing the enormous influence of the Internet and the need for information on safe Internet usage, the Business Software Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world, has been maintaining B4USurf (www.b4usurf.org), an online resource website that teaches cyber-ethics and cyber safety to teachers, parents and children.

To guide children learn more about cyber ethics, the BSA offers six tips below. These tips are designed to provide an easy reference teaching about respect for creative works online, appropriate computer downloading and peer-to-peer (P2P) technology usage.
  1. Computer Terms. Understand both technical and slang computer terms when referencing downloading, files sharing and other computer uses. For example, 'ripping' is slang commonly used to describe copying. 'Warez' (pronounced 'ware-z) is used to describe software that has been illegally stripped of its copyright protection.
  2. Appropriate and Legal. Know what is legal usage of a computer and software and what is not. For instance, personal, self-created works may be legally shared on P2P networks, but sharing copyrighted works without permission from the creator is illegal.
  3. Risks and Consequences. Share the risks and consequences associated with file-sharing, downloading and copying software, music, movies and games illegally. Educators are also urged to talk to students about the economics behind piracy and illegal uploading and downloading. Demonstrate that there are real consequences, both for themselves and for the authors of the creative works.
  4. Rules. Establish computer usage rules at school. Computer usage rules at school and rules at home should mirror one another.
  5. Present Alternatives. Offer incentives and legal alternatives to illegal file sharing and downloading, such as giving your students certificates for responsible online behavior.
  6. Talk More. Continue to monitor your students' computer habits and usage. Several conversations may be necessary as they develop an understanding of what is legal and safe and what is not.

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