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.

Are you on LinkedIN?

Recently I read on the oz-teachers mailing list a warning for teachers about using social networking sites unprofessionally. This UK article, suggests that teachers should be cautious of what they post online and check what information is available about them. Teachers are warned that schools are scouring social networking sites and googling potential candidates for school positions.

This warning is not of concern to me. I am very wary about thinking before posting. I use Facebook in a limited way, while using Twitter for entirely professional reasons.

Unfortunately, I do know a number of teachers who need to take heed of the warning, who use social networking in a less than professional way. As a sidenote, this recent post on the Edublogger blog is a great resource for teachers wanting to use Facebook safely.

Roland Gesthuizen responded to the warning on the oz-teachers mailing list by pointing to an article in the New York Times. It concurs with the UK article that professionals do need to be careful of their online presence but offered a handy piece of advice.  As Roland puts it:

If you create for yourself a LinkedIN account and keep it purely professional, sharing only what public information is already out there about you as this gets pushed up to the top of any search request. Much better to do this than trying to hide under a rock after burying all your Facebook and Twitter references.

The New York times article also points out that:

Adding such entries can also help people who have little or no presence online, as that can be viewed with suspicion these days.

After reading this advice, I set up my LinkedIN account. This diagram summarises what LinkedIN is all about (click on the image to enlarge it).

LinkedIN

While I am not sure how much I will get out of using LinkedIN (I’m still figuring it all out), I know it can’t hurt to strengthen my digital footprint. The fact that many inspiring educators are also on LinkedIN makes me think that it is a good idea to be involved!

If you’re on LinkedIN already, add me to your network. This is the link to my profile.

What are your tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint?

Are you on LinkedIN? How do you use it? Share your tips!