SU, Verizon sponsor event for middle school students on Internet safety
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 10:30 a.m., approximately 300 students from Syracuse City middle schools will come to Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel to discuss the choices they make when using the Internet. The School of Information Studies (iSchool) and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications are collaborating with Verizon Communications Inc., along with the Partnership for Better Education, on the Forum on Internet Safety.
The forum will be hosted by Andres Irlando, president of Verizon New York region. The event will feature several presenters, including Anthony Rotolo, social media strategist and an instructor of multimedia technology at the iSchool, and Mike McKeehan, a representative from Verizon Inc.
Rotolo will focus his presentation on “Choices,” and has recruited assistance from three Newhouse students, who will role-play the difficult and confusing choices students make every day in their digital lives. Rotolo hopes to encourage the middle-school student audience members to help the Newhouse students make the best choices in their online lives. For example, Rotolo will lead the students in the process of deciding whether to accept a “friend request” from a stranger on the popular social networking site Facebook.
After the scenario is played out, students will get to hear the outcomes of the choice they picked and the choice they did not pick. “The idea is to get kids to realize that their choices in the online environment directly affect their real lives off line,” says Rotolo.
The Forum on Internet Safety is part of a larger program, the New York Partnership for Online Safety. During the next three months, SU students, under the direction of Rotolo, will be creating an online resource for middle school teachers, students and their parents that focuses on social networking safety. This web site will feature webisodes designed to illustrate important concepts such as the risks associated with sharing personal information online and how social networking can be used to build a positive personal reputation that will benefit students in the future.
The SU team will also be creating print materials on Internet and social networking safety that will be distributed to the parents of approximately 20,000 students in the Syracuse City School District.
“The Partnership is very pleased to once again work with Verizon on programs that enlighten, engage and encourage responsibility in another generation of Syracuse City School District students,” says David Morgan, director of the Partnership for Better Education. The Partnership for Better Education is a formal partnership between local colleges and universities and the Syracuse City School District to assist students in Syracuse city schools to graduate and pursue higher education.