Smart Surfing 101: Teaching Your Students to be Safe Online

Teacher helping kindergarten children learn how to use computers safely

The Internet is a digital window into the world that enables new connections, fosters relationships, enhances learning and spreads information. But it can also be a scary place when thinking about students roaming freely with access to undesirable material. So, we’ve developed some helpful hints, tricks and tips to help keep students’ eyes and ears free of questionable content. We bring you: Student Internet Safety 101!

  • Help prevent adult content from showing up in Google search and images by enabling SafeSearch filtering. Google gives you the ability to help keep unwanted imagery and sites out of search results for youngsters. Google uses an automated method to help weed out explicit content – using algorithms, keywords and links to spot and keep unwanted material at bay when the feature is activated. They provide a helpful step-by-step guide on activating SafeSearch filtering with a great video to help make it a snappy process.
  • As a reminder, children under 13 should not have Facebook pages, as it’s a breach of Facebook terms of service, and for good reason. Kids love to share and they aren’t fully aware of the dangers of over-sharing in a very public forum such as Facebook or Twitter at a young age – even many adults seem to not comprehend the ramifications of posting in digital public spaces. Explain to students that if they shouldn’t say it in person, they shouldn’t say it online. Also, negative public posts can jeopardize offline relationships, hurt feelings and last long into the future – putting future opportunities at risk, such as participating in athletics, scholarships and college. Facebook shares additional tips on how to teach digital kids to be safe.
  • Online bullying is a growing problem for students and often it is transitioning from the schoolyard to the digital playing field. According to Wired Safety, “More than 50% of cyber bullying is conducted anonymously and often by the offline victims of a schoolyard bully getting even.”  StopCyberBullying.org is a leading advocate for preventing cyber harassment. They supply awesome resources for teachers and parents, including a Stop Cyber Bullying Toolkit that kept schools, students and parents in mind when developing the program to address online hate.
  • While you are working online in the classroom, make sure you to keep a watchful eye. Make sure monitors are in sight and allow for the possibility of a quick walk-by from adult. Students are less willing to venture into questionable digital territory when they know they are being respectfully observed.

In addition, if you are looking for a great article to share for older students, Edudemic has a great one which details the student’s guide to staying safe online – leverage the article to empower them to action! Have some helpful hints for others? Please share!

About the Author
The Kidblog team is passionate about helping students find their voice within a safe, teacher-moderated environment.

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