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Surf's Up On the World Wide Web

11/20/2001:   When it comes to the Internet, everyone from parents and educators, to elected officials and the U.S. Supreme Court, have struggled to balance our freedom of speech against the need to protect children from unsuitable Internet material.

With this thought in mind, the non-profit group The Children's Web Surfing Alliance (CWSA) was formed to provide educational online programs that teach kids important Web skills in a safe and fun environment. Sponsors of this alliance include the National Education Association (www.nea.org), DiscoverySchool.com (school.discovery.com/), AOL@School (school.aol.com), and ClassBrain.com

CWSA has four main objectives:
  • Promote Internet use as a resource within classrooms and homes.
  • Provide valuable, safe, and legitimate resources, ideas, programs, and opportunities for users to learn using the Internet.
  • Provide private, secure, educational online content for users.
  • Provide supplemental information to help teachers and parents utilize the Internet in fun, educational, and unique ways throughout the course of each day.

CyberSurfari (www.cybersurfari.com) is one of the organization’s first initiatives. This fun, interactive website takes children on a free Internet treasure hunt around the World Wide Web. For example, one "outpost" may be the White House's Website and the clue might be: "What are the five different kinds of American crafts in the White House?" Each correct answer creates a "treasure code." Kids collect as many treasure codes as possible to win prizes. Some of the prizes include t-shirts, trophies, computer equipment, and cash earmarked to purchase technology for schools. Kids can play on their own, form school teams, or play as a family. And best of all, 100% of the program's donations, grants, and other monies raised are reinvested back into the organization. The schedule for the contests are as follows:
  • Fall CyberSurfari 2001 – October 19th through February 15th
  • Spring CyberSurfari 2002 – February 23rd through June 15th
  • Summer CyberSurfari 2002 – June 21st through October 15th

For more information on CWSA or CyberSurfari.com, e-mail Katy Mason at kmason@cybersurfari.org or call 212/691-6230.

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