Thursday, September 27, 2001

TV internet coach drills students on etiquette

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Internet use requires teamwork and defense, the Discovery Channel's “Internet Coach” advised about 175 students Wednesday at St. William Elementary in Price Hill.

        “You make the call about what's good and what's intended for kids and what's not intended for kids,” R.J. Coleman, also known as the Internet Coach, told the group.

R.J. Coleman, the Discovery Channel's Internet Coach, uses a basketball at St. William School to demonstrate how to be careful when exchanging information over the internet.

(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        Knowing which is which requires teamwork, or input, from parents, he said. Using the Internet also requires a strong defense, such as not revealing personal information when chatting with strangers online, he said.

        Mr. Coleman, who appears on Assignment Discovery weekday mornings during the school year, is visiting eight elementary schools on Cincinnati's west side this week to teach students about “netiquette,” or Internet etiquette.

        Wearing a navy and green warm-up suit and a whistle around his neck, Mr. Coleman urged students to ask their parents' permission when going online and to inform their parents how Internet chat rooms work.

        When Mr. Coleman asked how many students use chat rooms, about half the group raised their hands.

Tips for parents
   • Keep the computer in a common room until children are of an appropriate age to use the Internet without supervision.
   • Advise children to ask permission before going online.
   • Tell children their online identity should be anonymous. Personal information should be kept secret.
   • Tell kids to log off when they are uncomfortable with anything online and that they should come to you with questions. Report problems to your Internet service provider.
   Source: The Internet Coach (registered trademark of APTE Inc.)
        According to a study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, one in five students surveyed for the study was approached with an unwanted sexual solicitation while online.

        To test students, he tossed a basketball to them while hurling out personal questions.

        Third-grader Joel Mercurio, 8, who doesn't use chat rooms, said he learned not to tell people his address while online.

        Another third-grader, Alyson Schoenung, 8, said she learned about keeping some information private, though no one has asked her personal questions online.

        “I'm glad he told the fifth- and sixth-graders, because some people have actually asked people's phone numbers,” she said.

       The Internet Coach's segments are featured on Discovery Channel's Assignment Discovery program 9 a.m. weekdays during the school year. To invite him to a school, go to



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