By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- Martin County Schools have been educating students about cyber safety for years, but this past week was the third annual Cyber Safety Week where students in every Martin County School was educated on how to be good digital citizens.
According to Marilyn Gavitt, coordinator of instructional technology for the Martin County School District, the dedicated week is all about awareness and ensuring students know how to protect themselves.
"As a school district we're obligated to make sure kids look at cyber safety," Ms. Gavitt said.
The week will be full of activities coordinated by school media specialists that include instructional videos, pledges, public service announcements and more to ensure kids know how to protect their privacy.
Martin County Schools want to ensure their students are being responsible while surfing the web.
"A good digital citizen is someone who doesn't bully anyone online, doesn't give out personal information, doesn't meet people offline (that they met online), doesn't take creative property and claim it as their own," Ms. Gavitt said.
Ms. Gavitt's tips for safety include using kind words, never saying anything online or in a text message that they wouldn't say in person, and getting adults involved if kids or teens see something online that is suspicious or makes them uncomfortable.
"By having a Cyber Safety Week we really bring it to the forefront ... and help our students be safe online," Ms. Gavitt said.
It's information the school district has offered for quite some time, but it was Ms. Gavitt's idea to combine it all into one concentrated week instead of drawing it out for an entire school year. She wanted to show that Martin County Schools were taking the topic seriously.
That's when she came up with the idea for an easy, concise way to get the point across with simple, hands on activities that would get students interested.
"It's an energizing week," Ms. Gavitt said.
But cyber safety week doesn't end when the school bell rings Friday afternoon. Ms. Gavitt urges parents to get involved, too, by overseeing how their children behave online.
"Talk to your children about how to be safe," Ms. Gavitt said.
Together, parents and Martin County Schools can help create a safe, responsible, bully-free online community for kids of all ages to enjoy.