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Teaching Students the Web's Potential Pitfalls

With young people spending seven and a half hours per day with a television, smart phone, or computer, some schools are taking action to teach their students about responsible Internet use, according to the New York Times.

Students don't always recognize that what they post on the Internet becomes part of the publicly visible information sphere, experts say.

"That sense of invulnerability that high school students tend to have, thinking they can control everything, before the Internet there may have been some truth to that," said Ted Brodheim, chief information officer for the New York City Department of Education. "I don't think they fully grasp that when they make some of these decisions, it's not something they can pull back from."

Jaime Dominguez, the head of the School of the Sacred Heart in San Fransisco, adds: "The hard part is, as adults we see that connection. They don't."

To combat the problem, starting this fall, New York City and Omaha will using a free curriculum developed by the nonprofit Common Sense Media to help students better understand how information can be spread and used on the Internet and how to protect themselves from exposure. Denver, Florida, Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Virginia are also considering the curriculum.

Some experts, like University of Pennsylvaniaprofessor Joseph Turow, think schools need to go beyond teaching responsible online behavior. Turow believes students should be learning about what cookies and Web viruses are, and about how corporations track consumer trends online.

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