Last week I attended a presentation by former police officer and cyber safety expert, Susan McLean. There was a lot to think about at this session and I wrote a post with 10 Internet Safety Tips for Students.
I do have some concerns about the way some teachers conduct themselves online and promote internet safety in the classroom.
I think it’s important that internet safety is regularly discussed amongst staff in schools. Technology moves so quickly and trends can change dramatically in the space of months.
Teachers who are not regular users of the internet, and even some who do use the internet extensively, don’t know what they don’t know.
Issues such as cyber bullying, sexting and internet addiction are only going to become more prominent as children’s access to technology continues to increase. It’s so important that teachers are equipped to teach about these issues as a preventative, and follow-up issues as they occur.
Here are some key messages around internet safety and online conduct that I believe all teachers should be aware of.
Some of these ideas were gathered from Susan McLean’s session.
- Don’t allow possible problems with internet use stop you from making the most of technology both in your professional and personal life.
- If your employer has guidelines for internet use, be aware of them. DEECD employees should be familiar with Using Social Media: Guide for Department Employees.
- Develop school internet use policies for your staff, students and families. Make sure all members of the school community are aware of your policies and guidelines.
- Teach your students about internet safety regularly and authentically. I have found blogging to be an excellent way to have an ongoing dialogue about these issues. Make the most of online resources such as the Australian government website, Cybersmart, and the US site, NetSmartz.
- Teach your students about basic internet safety tips. Students should also be taught about plagiarism, copyright, Creative Commons, search engines and effective research techniques. These are important areas for teachers and students to know about if they want to use the internet effectively and legally.
- Find out what your students do online when they’re outside of your classroom. If you’re not sure about the online spaces that your students and school community are using, take time to explore and find out how the various sites work.
- If students or parents approach you with issues regarding cyber bullying or safe internet use, it’s important to deal with them. Encourage your students to talk to you about any concerns they might be having with their internet use.
- Choose sensible names for your usernames, email addresses etc. Use strong passwords and change them a number of times a year. This Common Craft video provides an excellent explanation of secure passwords.
- Protect your digital reputation: don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your friends, family, colleagues and employers to see. Protect your personal social media or other internet accounts with privacy settings.
- Avoid adding students and parents as friends on personal social networks. I believe the exception would be if your account is purely professional. However, do not add children who are under 13 on social networks with age restrictions.