Florida Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp today attended the launch of a training program for 100 master digital educators and school district technology directors from across the state that will help students and parents better understand safe use of the Internet and other technology. Kottkamp joined Pam Stewart, deputy chancellor for educator quality from the Florida Department of Education, and representatives of Web Wise Kids and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) to unveil an innovative youth Internet safety program that will be used in 75 Florida middle schools beginning this fall. Educators receiving training today will take the program to school districts across the state.
"While the Internet has revolutionized our lives by providing an important resource for learning and connecting with friends, it has also created new opportunities for predators who would seek to do harm to our children and young people," Kottkamp said. "For that reason, I applaud our educators who are working to help our students and parents develop the critical thinking skills and judgment needed to successfully avoid potential online threats and dangers."
The safety program includes a series of three customized video games -- "Missing," "Mirror Image," and "Air Dogs" -- that teach students how to be safe and responsible online. The games prepare parents and children to recognize and deal with online predators and other dangerous situations such as modeling scams and illegal downloading.
"The Web Wise program is an invaluable tool that equips students with the knowledge and awareness they need to safely explore the digital world," Stewart said. "I commend Lt. Governor Kottkamp for his leadership in making such a valuable program available to our youth."
Also attending the announcement were Mike Gallagher, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, which provided funds to get the games into Florida schools, and Judi Westberg Warren, president of Web Wise Kids, the organization that distributes the games.