For Immediate Release
May 7, 2012
Students help spread digital safety message with annual Illinois Youth Digital Safety Contest
State Superintendent Koch, Attorney General Madigan and Lt. Gov. Simon recognize the best poster and electronic projects promoting online safety
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) joined the offices of the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Lieutenant Governor on Monday, May 7, to recognize winners of the third annual Illinois Youth Digital Safety Contest. The contest aims to raise awareness about making safe and respectful choices through digital communications.
“In this day and age, it really is essential we provide the skills our children need to stay safe and to make the right choices online,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “I applaud all of the students who participated in this contest for their help in spreading the message of Internet safety.”
Students earning first place were presented with resolutions during a ceremony Monday afternoon at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield. The contest follows a law that took effect in January 2009 requiring school districts to incorporate Internet safety into the curriculum at least each school year beginning in third grade.
This year’s theme for the contest, which was open to students in grades kindergarten through 12, was “Bystander Intervention,” or the idea that students who witness bullying can take action against it. Representatives from all three sponsoring government agencies judged submissions from across Illinois.
“These anti-bullying messages are powerful because they come from students on behalf of their peers,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon. “I commend the winners for sparking honest conversations about cyber bullying and creating safer spaces for online interaction.”
Under state law each local school district determines how to include lessons in the classroom but some recommended topics include the safe and responsible use of social networking websites, chat rooms, bulletin boards and other means of communication on the Internet. It is also recommended that instruction includes information on recognizing, avoiding and reporting online solicitation by sexual predators, recognizing and reporting online harassment and cyberbullying and knowing the risks of transmitting personal information on the Internet.
Attorney General Madigan’s Office has created age-specific Internet Safety Training Modules for educators that meet state law requirements. The Attorney General’s Internet Safety Training Modules can be found on her website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov, or on ISBE’s website at www.isbe.net.
Attorney General Madigan’s Office has provided Internet safety training and education to more nearly 229,000 parents, teachers, and students, and more than 14,000 law enforcement officers and prosecutors since 2006. Madigan also hosts a website to help children, teens, parents and educators learn about the dangers of cyberbullying. The “Stop Cyberbullying” website (www.ebully411.com) includes the latest news and statistics, frequently asked questions and a quiz to test online users’ knowledge about cyberbullying. It also features an E-Info Hotline to assist victims and teach bullies to understand the impact of their actions. More information is available by calling the hotline at 1-888-414-7678 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
“Today’s technology not only creates great opportunities, it can sometimes create great risks,” said Attorney General Madigan. “This Digital Safety contest provides an opportunity for participants to demonstrate ways to get their friends talking about how to encourage safe and civil behavior on the Internet and how to respond to any negative behavior they may encounter.”
Students in any public or non-public district were eligible to enter the contest by submitting an entry as a poster or in an electronic media format (video, podcast or slideshow). Here are the students from across the state honored with resolutions for first place in their categories: