Homework help in the digital age

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Tennessee Valley students are back in class and the homework is already pouring in. Many of these assignments require a computer, which means parents should be prepared to offer some digital help.

Augusta Nissly is coordinator of the Family Online Safety Institute's Good Digital Parenting program.

She says, "for elementary, school-aged children, the focus should be on teaching them that how they act online should be the same as how they act offline. So, when you're working on manners, translate that to - these are the same manners you should have online."

Once those expectations are set, Nissly says parents can work on helping their younger students separate good information from bad.

"One of the things you can do to help your child identify good resources is to start by teaching them what the different domains mean. So, .org means an organization, .edu means an educational organization. That's a very basic first place to start," she explains.

With so much information available online, it's also important students learn how to vett a source. Nissly recommends googling authors to, "see what else they wrote or who else is talking about them."

Also, just because information is freely shared on the internet doesn't mean students can skip attribution.  If it's used in a school assignment, the author should get credit.

"Make sure they're citing sources," Nissly says, adding, "never be afraid to ask your child, 'did you cite that?' It's a good habit to get into."

While the internet can be a great resource for homework - and in many cases, a requirement - some old-fashioned parental oversight is still necessary.

To help parents navigate these, and other online issues, FOSI's Good Digital Parenting program has put together an age-based, back-to-school guide.

You'll find all the information here.