Internet Safety Curriculum for Public Schools
With the internet no longer being just a tool and now a medium for our personal lives, safety issues need to be addressed like we currently do with students in the “real world”. This is going to require not only our teachers to inform the students, but we are going to need to involve the parents also.
Outlined below are 3 key goals in attempts to make students and parents more aware of the potential dangers of the real world that have translated into the virtual one. These should be taught starting in kindergarten/elementary school and be reviewed every few years after that by teachers, parents, and the students.
Students need to be taught specifically how to maximize the Internet’s potential while protecting themselves from potential abuse.
• The critical thinking skills students learn in the classroom, library, and computer lab should be applied while using the Internet.
• Students need to know what to do and who to ask for help when they encounter a person or site in the Internet that is offensive or threatening to them.
• Students and adults are required by law to report illegal Internet communications and activities to Internet Service Providers and local law enforcement authorities.
Students need to know that Internet messages and the people who send them are not always what or who they seem.
• People in chat rooms, instant message ”buddies” or those who visit a blog may not be who they appear to be. Students should learn when to recognize when someone is potentially dangerous.
• Students need to realize when an Internet encounter may be questionable and how to protect themselves when this occurs.
• E-mail can cause malicious code-infection problems for a computer or network. Students should not open e-mail or attachments from unknown sources.
• Students need to know which information is safe to share with others online, which should never be shared, and why sharing it could put them at risk.
• Students never should reveal online any information about where they live or attend school.
• Students need to be aware their electronic messages, even those with known friends, can leave electronic footprints that can be misused by others.
Students need to know that predators and cyberbullies anonymously use the Internet to manipulate students. Students must learn how to avoid dangerous situations and get adult help.
• Sexual predators deceive students by pretending to be students themselves. They sometimes lure young people into a false sense of security or blind trust and try to alienate them from their families. Students need to learn about these types of psychological ploys and to get immediate adult help.
• Bullies use Internet tools such as instant messaging and the Web to harass or spread false rumors about students. Students need to know how to seek proper help in these potentially dangerous situations.
• Students need to know what posting personal information and pictures can allow predators to contact and begin grooming them for illegal meetings and actions. Personal photos can be easily misused or altered when posted on the Internet.
Tips by Teens for Teens (kids.getnetwise.org)
• Remember – A million times before you’ve heard that honesty is the best policy. Most people don’t believe that, though. So when you’re out there in cyberspace, watch yourself. You never know when 5’6″, blond and female could actually mean 6’3″, hairy and male. Don’t believe everything you see online.
• Be leery of those who want to know too much. There’s no rule that says you have to tell them where you live, what your last name is, or anything else personal. Your business is your business. Let them stick to theirs. And trust your instincts. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave.
• We all remember the “buddy system” from kindergarten. Sure, you’re no longer in kindergarten, but the system still works. If you’re planning on meeting up with somebody you met online, bring a friend, or even your parents, along with you and encourage your online acquaintance to bring theirs, too. It sounds stupid, but it’s definitely the smart idea. At the very least, make sure your real friends know what you’re doing.
• Before you take a running leap at the streets and a hard-knock life, let somebody know how you’re feeling. Try talking to an understanding relative or friend, or call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. They are a better, more trustworthy resource than a stranger in a chat room.
• If you get suspicious e-mails, files, or pictures from someone you don’t know and trust, trash them just like any other junk mail. You could have a lot to lose by trusting someone you’ve never even met. The same goes for clicking links or URLs that look suspicious – just don’t do it.
• Avoid chat rooms or discussion areas that look sketchy or provocative, and don’t let people online trick you into thinking of them as real-life friends if you’ve never met them in person. Just the same, don’t let people goad you into online fights. If you go looking for trouble on the Internet, you’ll find it, and things can get out of control really fast.
Here are some internet safety links for educators:
http://www.stopcyberbullying.org – Site that keeps information simple and breaks it out based on the viewer.
http://www.isafe.org – A non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Educators, students and parents can become i-SAFE Internet safety certified.
http://www.netsmartz.org – Another non-profit foundation dedicated to Internet safety. Contains lessons, games, and activities on Internet safety for grades K-12. It also contains research and statistics about online risks and children. It also contains songs and videos you can show to your students.
http://msn.staysafeonline.com/educators/default.html – Internet safety information for educators. This site includes tips, a toolbox, a glossary of terms and strategies to keep your students safe online.
http://cyberbully.org – A comprehensive source on the subject of cyberbullying. This site includes detailed examples of cyberbullying and resources for educators.
http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/lesson_plans – Lessons that you can use in the classroom to teach your students about cybersafety.
https://www.mysecurecyberspace.com – My Secure Cyberspace is a free educational resource created by Carnegie Mellon University to empower you to secure your part of cyberspace.
http://www.copyrightkids.org – This site has information about copyright and intellectual property for kids.
http://www.staysafe.org/educators/default.html – Stay Safe.org for Educators contains
content and resources for teaching students how to stay safe online.
Cyberbullying: What Is Cyberbullying and How to Stop It – The guide has been put together to help parents and carers better understand the issues surrounding cyberbullying and how to help their children should they become a victim.