Internet safety (e.g., online safety, cyber safety, or E-Safety) is using specific strategies to be safe on the internet. This includes having the knowledge of how to maximize the user's personal safety and reducing security risks to private information and property associated with using the internet, and the self-protection from computer crime.
The Internet is a fun and educational resource, but all users should understand the importance of online safety. Youth should be aware of threats to themselves and their computers before surfing the Internet and downloading files and programs. It is recommended that rules are established and discussed along with providing safety tips before allowing them to go online.
Best Practices and Implications for Professional Practice
Instructional Practices include ways to:
1. Get parents involved
Studies have shown that the main reason many kids do not use drugs is because they do not want to disappoint their parents. Educating parents on the dangers of inappropriate usage of technology and encouraging them to talk to their children about it is an effective way to ensure that students are safe online, both at school and at home. Direct parents to infographics or other sources of readily available information like the following: Internet Safety: Tips for Kids & Teens
2. Provide resources to students
It is unlikely that students want to listen to an hour-long lecture on the dangers of the internet. Share resources in an engaging, authentic, and useful way.
3. Create scenarios
Create sample scenarios about possible dangerous internet usage and pass them out to the class. The goal is to allow students to arrive at their own conclusion (with guidance)
of the inherent danger in situations like these. By encouraging students to figure out the answer themselves, you not only empower them but educate them as well. Make it a point to encourage students to respect themselves and to remove themselves from any situation where they are uncomfortable, being bullied, or being attacked. Use these scenarios to discuss with students how to handle hurtful, uncomfortable, or dangerous situations.
Safe2Help Illinois Website Resources:
• Kids Resources: Staying Safe Videos
• Internet Safety Tips for Teens – Helpful and Funny Video
• US Department of Homeland Security Provides parent and educator resources.
• NetSmartz Provides videos covering topics such as cyberbullying, gaming, online enticement, sexting and sextortion, smartphones, and social media sites. Videos are age-appropriate geared for Elementary or Middle and High School aged students.
• Common Sense: 5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids Sharing photos, posting comments, playing video games -- these are just a few of the ways that kids interact online. But when sharing goes beyond friends and family, it can be risky. Read about privacy and Internet safety and watch this video to learn five Internet safety rules for kids.
• Teach Digital Citizenship Skills to Prevent Cyberbullying Digital citizenship is appropriate, responsible behavior when using technology. This includes social media, websites, online forums, communities, comments, and in apps and other device features. Teaching children and teens digital citizenship skills can help to prevent cyberbullying and its negative effects.
Sample Classroom Strategies
IL SEL Standards:
Goal 3: Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.
These activities can be used to address the Illinois SEL Standards.
- Internet Safety for Kids from Goodwill Community Foundation In this free tutorial, learn tips and strategies to keep your kids safe from hackers, predators, and cyberbullies.
- 23 Great Lesson Plans for Internet Safety from Common Sense Education This site provides activities on Internet Safety for grades K-12.
- Online Safety from KidsHealth.org (5th Grade) Many students are online often ― using smartphones, iPods, and laptops. The Internet is a big part of their social lives. That’s why kids need to understand how to make good choices when it comes to protecting themselves and their identities online. These activities will encourage students to think critically about online safety, including how much information to reveal and to whom.
- Online Safety from KidsHealth.org (6th - 8th) Middle schoolers are increasingly independent, social, and online. It’s a recipe for fun, but it can also lead to issues. Students need to understand that impulsive behavior online can jeopardize their identities, reputations, and safety. Improper use of a computer can cause physical problems as well. These activities will encourage students to think critically about online safety.
- Online Safety from Rights, Respect, Responsibility By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 1) Describe positive aspects of online talking and messaging. 2) Identify examples of flirting and chatting that can be inappropriate or risky. 3) Demonstrate an understanding of how to deal with uncomfortable situations when communicating online.