The Federal Trade Commission has recently made two free resources of interest to the K-12 education community available:
Net Cetera - a booklet and bookmark about social networking, cyberbullying, sexting, etc... Available at www.onguardonline.gov
Kids and parents have many ways of socializing and communicating online, but there are certain risks. A new booklet, Net Cetera, encourages parents, teachers, and librarians to reduce the risks by talking to kids about how they communicate - online and off - and helping them engage in conduct they can be proud of. The booklet covers what parents need to know, where to go for more information, and issues to raise with kids about living their lives online -- issues like social networking, sexting, cyberbullying, mobile phones, protecting the family computer, and parental controls. This resource was published in October 2009, and the FTC has given out over a million copies, including copies to school districts in Georgia, Texas, California, and Washington state and many libraries.
AdMongo - a new website/game about teaching advertising literacy to kids. Available at www.admongo.gov
Every day, kids are exposed to advertising - not just on TV and online, but on buses, buildings, and even inside their classrooms. Many ads target kids ages 8-12. Given what kids see and hear around them, it's important that they learn how to decode and understand ads. To help, the FTC created a campaign to teach kids about advertising. The core of the campaign is a fun (and "visually fabulous," according to the announcement!) website called Admongo.gov, which uses games to teach kids to apply critical thinking skills to answer a series of important questions when they see a product logo - on a package, on a commercial, in a program, as part of a game, or even on a tee-shirt:
Who is responsible for the ad? What is the ad actually saying? What does the ad want me to do? By applying the information they learn through the Admongo curriculum, kids learn to recognize ads, understand them, and make better informed decisions in the marketplace.
The FTC is working with the Young Adult Library Services Division of the ALA to alert their members to these resources, encouraging library media specialists to use them in their programs.
Source: Federal Trade Commission, http://ftc.gov/