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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton Elementary teaches online safety through White Ribbon Week

Feb 03, 2023 11:21AM ● By Morgan Olsen

White Ribbon Week took place at Riverton Elementary from Jan. 9-13. (Catrina Kim/Riverton Elementary)

Riverton Elementary promoted the importance of digital safety for its students through White Ribbon Week Jan. 9-13. 

“White Ribbon Week makes it easy for [schools] to empower children with simple, kid-friendly messages and activities,” the White Ribbon Week organization website states. “Combining information from the latest research and utilizing the power of positivity, our materials prepare even the youngest kids to recognize online dangers and navigate technology safely.”

White Ribbon Week utilizes different activities throughout the week to teach students the importance of making smart decisions online.

“White Ribbon Week consists of five fun-filled days at school to help students think carefully about their online choices,” the White Ribbon Week organization website states. “White Ribbon Week addresses many issues including online safety, cyberbullying, indecent media, screen time and emotional wellness.”

Riverton Elementary’s White Ribbon Week was organized by Catrina Kim, a parent volunteer who is also involved with the SASS Go organization. 

“As a concerned parent passionate about ending abuse, assault and human trafficking, I was eager to help coordinate White Ribbon Week for Riverton Elementary,” Kim said. “In what I do, I have experienced first-hand the effects of those atrocities on not just the victim, but the entire family unit. That is what drives me personally to get involved - in any way that I can - to empower children and their trusted adults with the practical and effective tools to keep themselves safe.”

One aspect of White Ribbon Week focuses specifically on teaching students the importance of digital citizenship. Kim said she wanted to emphasize to students that once they post something online, it is there forever. She reminded students that they have a responsibility to post things that they are proud of, and things that build others up, not tear others down. She wants them to know that the things they post matter to others. 

“As part of the digital citizenship aspect of White Ribbon Week, we created an Empowerment Wall,” Kim said. “All 700 students were asked to write an uplifting word on a post-it note to remind them to be positive with their posts and text messages, because they can have a powerful impact on others.”

Kim feels it is important to give students the tools they need to be successful and aware individuals as they grow up in an increasingly digital world.

“With the growing threats to their physical, mental and emotional well-being, it's important to raise awareness and have conversations early, in age-appropriate language,” Kim said. “The message must be compelling and fun, confirming each child's self-worth, without causing fear.  After all, the best way to end the horrific effects of abuse, assault and human trafficking is to prevent it from happening in the first place.”

While online safety can be an overwhelming topic to tackle in just one week, Kim has focused on keeping the lessons simple, entertaining and informative. 

“My goal with White Ribbon Week has been to present the critical information so that it's fun for the students, easy for teachers, informative and compelling for parents,” Kim said. “Ultimately, the goal is to make a positive difference in our community.”