Things to Know About The Utah NetSmartz Program
The Utah NetSmartz Program Provides Extensive Outreach:
The majority of Utah Schools utilize the program every year to provide digital citizenship training for their students. 428,046 K-12 students participated during the 2018-19 school year. That is 65% of Utah’s 659,909 K-12 Student Population (USBE Fingertip Facts). 131,367 of those students received an additional follow-up training. In addition, 18,331 adults (including parents and teachers) were trained for a total of 577,744 total annual training participants.
It is a Proven & Tested Program:
The Utah NetSmartz program measures student response and outcomes via surveying. Data comes from a sampling of student participants (grades 6-12). survey data
Additionally, NetSmartz trainers use proven and tested classroom teaching techniques to encourage learning and retention.
It is Nationally Awarded and Recognized:
The Utah NetSmartz program was awarded the prestigious FOSI Award for Outstanding Achievement in Internet Safety at the Family Online Safety Institute’s conference in Washington D.C. The NetSmartz program was selected for the award due to exceptional work in the field of online safety.
It Saves Lives:
*97.64 percent of students are better prepared to face Internet dangers after participating in the training.
A 9th grade student swallowed some pills during school with the intent to commit suicide. This student had been struggling with bullying and depression. This happened moments before a NetSmartz training at that school. As part of the training, the trainer began educating the students about the Safe UT app (a state-sponsored resource that students can download on their phones and use as a resource to report anonymously or to talk with someone in a time of need.) This student immediately downloaded the app and reported what she had done. She told them of her intent to commit suicide. The emergency personnel arrived just as the training completed. She was rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital. There she was unconscious and in critical condition for a period of time. She survived, relocated with her family, and is now safe and doing very well. In this instance, a critical resource and much-needed positive motivation was provided at just the right moment to help save a life.
It Promotes Critical Action:
*95% of participants are more likely to report cyberbullying after participating in this training.
*96% of participants are less likely to participate in sexting after participating in this training.
Prompted by a NetSmartz training at West Point Jr High that addressed online predators, several students began reporting similar disturbing interactions that they had experienced online. They reported them immediately following the training. The school resource officer, counselors, and school administration were all told similar stories about this online persona that had requested and performed inappropriate actions online. Law enforcement became involved. This individual had been grooming and attempting to solicit students at this school and two neighboring schools. The NetSmartz training promoted action that not only prevented these students from becoming victims but the student’s quick action may have saved future victims.
ABC4 reported on the event:
“A group of parents felt a sense of relief after an assembly stopped a potential predator from reaching young girls at West Point Junior High.”
“I’m so glad we had that assembly,” Kristy Larsen (8th grader) said
“We believe that because of that safety presentation so many of the girls came forward.” -Deputy Geoff Hasty
It Promotes and Encourages Positive Reactions & Solutions
*98% of participants feel confident that they have a positive digital future after participating in this training
During the workshop, students are encouraged to find positive solutions to tough issues like cyber-bullying. They are also reminded that they are the future of the Internet and that future is positive because we choose to make it so.
Recent student training events included a video clip about a student who was cyberbullied. In the clip, the student felt sad about the cyberbullying. However, rather than letting it get her down, she chose to leave anonymous positive notes for her fellow students (on their lockers.) After doing this she no longer felt depressed about the bullying. Additionally, she promoted positivity among her fellow students. Students statewide responded very positively to this story and many emulated it:
“We had three 5th grade students ask if they could write positive comments on sticky notes and post them all over in the halls. They got this idea from the situation that happened in the upper grade presentation. Thought you might like to hear that the students were listening.”
– Principal Paula Burgoyne | Three Peaks Elementary School