Teach Children to Evaluate Websites and Practice Internet Safety
Evaluating the quality of websites
Websites have become a main source of information for research projects and other assignments children undertake in school. Information is easily searched with quick access to a variety of sources for any topic. The general tendency is for people to browse the first page of ranked websites. Although this helps to ensure the importance of the site in relation to the topic, it does not always mean the site is a valuable resource. Children need to learn to evaluate websites to determine the quality of the content. This is especially important to support their ability to think critically about media information. There are advertisements, links, and lots of information that fills the pages of most website. By teaching children to ask questions and evaluate content, they learn to make informed choices about what information is important for their purposes and what is not. They also learn to assess quality of the information being presented to determine the credibility of a website. This ties into the important topic of internet safety, which teaches children to protect themselves online. The following are questions that can be used to support children in their evaluation of online websites.
Questions to Evaluate Websites
- Does the website have information that is up to date?
- What general impression does the website give you?
- Is the website free of stereotyping and bias?
- What audience is the website created for?
- Does it have sufficient information for your purposes?
- Can the information be confirmed by other sources?
- Is the spelling and grammar correct?
- Are the hyperlinks working and do they link to relevant and helpful information?
- Is the website easy to navigate; is it well organized, and is it easy to read?
- Can the author of the website be identified and is contact information available?
- What is the best part about the website?
- How could the website be improved?
By using these questions as a guideline for evaluating websites children learn to think critically about the information being presented. They discover that not all websites are reputable or relevant. Learning to evaluate the websites that children use for research helps them to discern quality sources of information. It is beneficial to compare two or more websites on a similar research topic.The comparison will help children determine which websites are better options for their purposes. Have them give specific examples for their preferences and opinions.
Website for Online Education
- WiredKids, the Ultimate Online Safety Project for Kids and Teens!
This site offer many online safety games and information for children of all ages, as well as helpful tips for parents and educators.
With the use of internet for school research and information, as well as for games, it is more important than ever to make children aware of internet safety. Children need to evaluate the quality of websites but they also need to use precautions to ensure responsible and safe internet use. The following are some tips for internet proofing children:
- Never give out personal information without a parent present.
- Do not meet someone you met online without telling a parent
- Never give out your password.
- Do not respond to messages that are mean or inappropriate.
- Inform a parent if content ever makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Check with parents before downloading documents.
- Never jeopardize the family’s privacy.
- Be a good citizen
Children benefit from instruction that teaches them to think critically about the websites they choose to use for research. This is a skill that will assist them in school studies, and will teach them not to take all the media and information they encounter at face value. Informing children about internet safety is another step to making them computer wise. For younger children, simplify the questions with some basic examples that explain taking precuations on the internet. For older children, discuss the questions and tips offered in this article and then keep them beside the computer as a reference and a reminder. Teaching children to evaluate websites will help them think twice about the content that is being presented. They learn to consider options and make informative choices regarding the quality of the sources they use.
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