Naperville summit teaches basics of online smarts, safety

  • Julie Slade, an elementary teacher in Indian Prairie Unit District 204, helps fifth-grader Calvin Bonansinga and fourth-grader Jared Samual on Tuesday during a lesson at the first KidsMatter Digital Leader Summit about keeping information private. Nearly 300 Naperville-area students attending the two-day summit will learn smart online behaviors and digital citizenship.

      Julie Slade, an elementary teacher in Indian Prairie Unit District 204, helps fifth-grader Calvin Bonansinga and fourth-grader Jared Samual on Tuesday during a lesson at the first KidsMatter Digital Leader Summit about keeping information private. Nearly 300 Naperville-area students attending the two-day summit will learn smart online behaviors and digital citizenship. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico hands out web camera covers to students Tuesday on the first day of KidsMatter's new Digital Leader Summit, which will teach nearly 300 Naperville-area students the basics of smart online behavior.

      Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico hands out web camera covers to students Tuesday on the first day of KidsMatter's new Digital Leader Summit, which will teach nearly 300 Naperville-area students the basics of smart online behavior. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Kristin Gader, left, a teacher at Builta Elementary School in Bolingbrook, shows kids how to create a secure password Tuesday at the Digital Leader Summit in Naperville hosted by KidsMatter.

      Kristin Gader, left, a teacher at Builta Elementary School in Bolingbrook, shows kids how to create a secure password Tuesday at the Digital Leader Summit in Naperville hosted by KidsMatter. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

A course on good citizenship took a digital turn Tuesday as the Naperville nonprofit organization KidsMatter hosted its first Digital Leader Summit for elementary-aged students.

More than 160 students in fourth and fifth grades in Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 convened for the first day of the new summit Tuesday to learn the principles of smart and safe online behaviors.

The summit is scheduled to continue Wednesday to benefit more than 100 students in grades seven and eight, who also will learn to protect themselves and their peers online.

KidsMatter Executive Director Kamala Martinez said the summit aims to teach students to avoid or report common online hazards, such as cyberbullying, harassment, improper solicitation, releasing too much personal information or illegally using written content, photos, music or videos.

In breakout sessions taught by teachers and administrators -- often with the aid of students' personal Chromebook computers as provided by their districts -- participants went through several lessons in the "Be Internet Awesome" curriculum developed by Google. Among them were courses called "Don't Fall for Fake" "Secure Your Secrets" and "When In Doubt, Talk It Out."

The summit takes the place of a previous video contest called "Your Digital Footprint Matters," which KidsMatter previously held to push the message about online responsibility. Martinez said the new format allows the agency to reach more students with lessons about online smarts and safety because each participant in the summit will be required to peer-teach the content to classmates.

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