Understanding Google Hangout and Email Features
Online Safety and Digital Citizenship Information
The Internet is an important resource for both children and adults and is an increasingly vital learning tool within our schools. The Fort Zumwalt School District is continuing to partner with families to keep children safe and educate all students about digital citizenship. Parents have an important role in keeping children safe and helping them learn digital citizenship. The information about Google Hangouts, online safety and blocking in this document provides parents with an excellent opportunity to talk to children about these topics.
What are Google Hangouts?
- Google Hangout is a free service that offers several options including Chat, Video and Voice. Chat is an instant messaging application available through Google. Google Video allows Google users to participate in video chats, and Google Voice provides the opportunity for Google users to talk to each other online using voice technology.
Why are the Google Hangout tools, including Chat, Video and Voice, important to the learning process?
- Using these tools, students can better work together in school and on after-school collaboration for assignments and projects. They also provide students with an additional way to ask teachers questions about school work. Finally, both Hangout features and email can be useful in the research process. All of the above are utilized in classrooms as age and/or project appropriate.
Student monitoring and safety online
What should students do if they receive an invite from someone they don’t know via text messaging, Google Hangout, Google Chat or Video Hangout?
Students should never communicate with a person whom they do not know. If a Google Hangout text message is sent to a student and the student does not know the sender, the direction is to close the message and not respond or if given the option deny the invite and close it. Students are also encouraged to report this contact to an adult at home or school.
What if a student is uncomfortable with the messages received in a Google Hangout?
- A user can block someone from sending Google Hangouts. The steps to do so are defined here.
How do I block a person from sending emails to my child’s account?
- If a person is blocked from your child’s account, they cannot receive email messages from the person. The blocked emails will be sent to the account’s spam folder. To block a sender, follow these directions here. If you blocked someone by mistake, you can unblock them using the same steps.
Online Safety Tips
Parents are encouraged to share the following online rules for children at home.
- Never give out personal information such as address, telephone numbers, parents’ name or work address/telephone number without parent permission.
- Tell parents right away if they come across something online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Talk to parents about posting pictures of themselves online.
- Do not respond to any messages that are mean or make children feel uncomfortable.
- Never give out passwords to anyone other than parents.
- Follow the rules of digital citizenship, including never posting anything online that hurts others.
The linked article discusses the complex system that underlies cyberbullying situations. It also provides a link to another article explaining how to help your child if you believe he or she is being cyberbullied.