With the Internet being used more frequently by students for educational purposes, it is important that they have guidelines to follow to navigate online as safely as possible. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (n.d.) recommends that “As a parent or guardian, you shouldstay well-informed about current issues to understand what your children are experiencing on and off the Internet.” Both teachers and parents need to be aware of possible safety issues that can arise in order to set appropriate guidelines and educate students about safety while on the Internet.
Below is a guide to safety on the Internet that teachers can share with elementary students.
Do not share personal information with others online.
The FBI’s Kids Safety Tips webpage reminds Internet users that “people online may not be who they say they are. Someone who says ‘she’ is a ’12-year-old girl’ could really be an older man.” In their book Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, Roblyer and Doering (2012) refer to them as online predators. Personal information may include your full name, age, the school you attend, your home address, phone number, usernames, passwords, or a picture of yourself. If someone asks you for personal information, do not share it and be sure to tell a teacher or parent.
Be respectful of others.
Although you may not be able to see someone on the other end of a computer, you have to remember that you are still communicating with other real people. Roblyer and Doering (2012) describe cyberbullying as “The practice of using technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.” Bullying others online is not acceptable, just as it is not in person. Remember, school rules still apply when you are online.
Tell your teacher or parents if you read or see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Whether it is a picture or message someone sent you or you just came across while on the Internet, let an adult know. They may be able to make sure that does not continue to happen.
Do not accept agreements to purchase or install anything without permission.
This includes, but is not limited to downloading and installing programs onto a school computer without permission or agreeing to subscribe to something, even if it seems educational. Files may contain viruses that can harm the school’s computers and network. Subscriptions may require a fee to be paid at a later date that you may not be aware of at the time. Always check with your teacher if something is telling you to download a file or accept an agreement.
Here are some sites that you or your students can visit to learn more about Internet Safety:
FBI Kids Safety Tips: http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Online Safety Information Kit & Other Resources: http://www.netsmartz.org/Educators
Goodwill Community Foundation – Internet Safety for Kids: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafetyforkids
Free BrainPop Video on Cyberbullying: www.brainpop.com/technology/computersandinternet/cyberbullying/
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). Kids – Safety tips. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. (n.d.). NetSmarts: Basic internet safety. Retrieved from http://www.netsmartz.org/InternetSafety.
Roblyer, M.D, & Doering, A.H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.