10 Internet Safety Tips for Students

Last night I attended a presentation by former police officer and cyber safety expert, Susan McLean. She addressed many issues around internet safety, cyber bullying, sexting, problematic internet behaviour and digital reputation.

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Internet safety is something I try to address frequently and authentically with my students. I have found education around this issue to be so important.

When students develop internet behaviours without guidance, problems are sure to occur. My hope is that teaching students some key messages from a young age will help them navigate their way safely through the internet as they grow older.

I have found blogging to be an excellent way to teach students about being responsible digital citizens and members of online communities. I have seen other tools such as Edmodo used to promote positive internet behaviours too.

Here are some key messages around internet safety that I believe all students should be aware of.

Most of these are tips I share with my students with some ideas from Susan McLean.

  1. Always ask an adult if you’re unsure of anything when you are online.
  2. Don’t sign up for sites that are 13+ if you are not old enough (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc).
  3. Remember YAPPY (the personal information you should not share online) – Your full name, address, phone number, passwords, your plans. 
  4. Don’t add people as online friends unless you know them in real life or have parent permission. Never arrange to meet an online friend without talking to a parent.
  5. Remember that you cannot believe everything you read on the internet and you can’t trust everything online friends tell you.
  6. Choose sensible names for usernames, email addresses etc. 
  7. Talk to your parents about what you’re doing online and let them know when you’re going on the internet.
  8. Know what cyber bullying is and tell someone if you think it’s happening to you. Cyber bullying is when someone picks on you, annoys, embarrasses, or threatens you over and over again using technology, such as the internet or a phone.
  9. Protect your digital footprint: don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want all your friends, family, teachers and future employers to see.
  10. Treat others online the way you’d like to be treated.

Find more great information about internet safety on the government website, Cybersmart.

Here is a great video with tips for students from CommonSenseMedia. I found it via Jenny Luca’s wonderful post on digital footprints.

What other internet safety tips would you add?

How do you teach internet safety in your classroom?

I plan to write about tips for teachers and parents in my next posts.

15 thoughts on “10 Internet Safety Tips for Students

  1. Dear Kathleen,

    I have just read you wonderful post on Safety Tips. I need to thank you for as a parent you always need to be in control ensuring you know what your child is doing on the computer at all times.

    For example I didn’t realize one of the sites you mentioned you need to sign up you need to be a certain age. Your information has helped me greatly in making sure that even me as an adult, mother staying safe at all times while using the computer.

    Sincerely,
    AA

    • Hi AA,

      Thanks for commenting. It’s fantastic to see parents so interested in learning about internet safety.

      I know that you and your daughter, BB, work together on the computer a lot and you always know about the relationships BB develops through blogging. I think this is truly excellent as you can navigate the internet together and discuss any challenges as they come up in the future!

      Many sites are 13+ but students and parents often don’t realise because you have to click on the Terms and Conditions to find out this information. I think this should be made very clear so children and parents know about age restrictions when they sign up for various sites.

      Great to hear from you,
      Kathleen

  2. Hi,

    YAPPY is !great I would add a strong password. Astrong password contains upper, lower,numerical, and symbols. It doesnt contain anything of your name or any letters that usually come in order.Also, have a different password for each major account.

    • Hi Aisha,

      Thanks for commenting. That is an excellent tip about the strong password and that is one I forgot to include in the list so thanks for reminding me!

      I have found YAPPY a good way for kids to remember key information that they should keep private. I hope it helps you too.

      Kathleen

  3. Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks for another great post, I am becoming a big fan of your blog. I like the explicit rules you’ve listed and am wondering what you do about image searching in your classroom. Do you have a rule for searching for images? I’ve noticed that even in Google Safe Searc,h my students’ searches often require adult supervision because of the inappropriate images that come up. Do you use another site for image searching in your classroom? How do you address this safety issue?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Courtney,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying my blog!

      To tell you the truth, we don’t do a whole lot of image searching in my classroom unless it’s to find creative commons images for online work. You can find the instructions I give my students on this process here.

      I haven’t really found the need to use Google images although I am aware that sometimes the safe search isn’t so safe.

      I bet other readers have some ideas for safe image searching so I hope they can help you!

      Cheers,
      Kathleen

      • The Internet host we use in my school in the UK has some sort of filter so that images that are allowed on Google Images Search (at home) still get refused at school. It’s quite handy and we haven’t come across a bad image yet, thankfully!

        Just starting out – Georgeham.edublogs.org

  4. Hi Kathleen,
    I think your ten tips are really good.

    When I teach about internet safety and internet behavior I often use short films. We watch the film one or two times together and then we discuss: What was the plot? What is the message? What do you think about it? I have found two (Norweigan,you could use them if you find them useful, there is no speaking!) that I found espessially good – se the two first in this blog post (in Swedish, but you can scroll down to the film links): http://v4or.blogspot.se/2011/02/www-lektion-att-publicera-pa-natet.html

    Do you think this could be useful in your schoolinviorement?

    Regards from Sweden:)

    • Hi Elisabet,

      Short films are a great way to engage students in the topic of internet safety. Thanks for the link to your blog. I really enjoy this clip too. I don’t know how useful it will be to you as it is in English but I think it has some excellent messages http://youtu.be/_o8auwnJtqE

      Thanks!
      Kathleen

  5. You definitely have the right tips and information for informing students of internet safety. I think it is just important that parents and teachers not only learn but enforce these as well. There are many parents and teachers that are uneducated when it comes to the internet in terms of how they should use it as well as their children/students. There needs to be some type of national information organization on Technology that informs people across the nation how to proper use technology, because it seems when we as human beings get on the internet, we loose sense of community and morality. Hiding behind the computer screen, it is easy for people to do and say what they want.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for commenting. I strongly agree that many teachers and parents are uneducated when it comes to the internet. I would love to see more organised guidelines on this too. I think it’s also important that internet use and cyber safety issues feature regularly on the agenda of school meetings/PD.

      Thanks again for some interesting thoughts,
      Kathleen

  6. Hi Mrs. Morris,

    I am back again from the University of South Alabama in EDM 310! First of all, thank you for this great post. It is frightening to think of the possibilities within the internet, both good and bad. Although, I can be a line of defense against that horrific side by implementing these tips into the technology curriculum. Too often do I take advantage of my awareness of cyber crimes, but forget that other students do not. This post is a great reminder of that. So, thanks again for the extremely valuable information, and looking forward to that next post for parents and teachers.

    Jessie Holder
    My BlogTwitter

  7. Hi Mrs. Morris,

    My name is Hillary, I am a education major at the University of South Alabama! I really enjoyed reading and also learning a few things from your blog post. Safety tips are strongly important especially when working with younger students. I think it is important for parents and teachers to help the child understand there are rules. Yappy (the personal information you should not share online)- seems like a great way to help the kids understand the safety procedure. Thanks again for the many intersting facts that need to be spread to parents and teachers.

    Sincerly,

    Hillary

    • Hi Hillary,

      Thanks for commenting. I have found YAPPY to be an acronym that really resonates with my students. It’s an easy way for them to remember to keep their personal information private. I have used it with students aged 7-10 although I think it could work well with children of all ages.

      Good luck with your studies. It sounds like you’re enrolled in an excellent course.

      Kathleen

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