10 Tips to Encourage Student Online Safety

By on August 4, 2014

With the start of every new school year I like to educate my students on the importance of online safety.  As we support students in making strategic use of online tools, we also must educate them on how to safely interact using various technologies.  Being a responsible digital citizen is essential in maintaining online safety.

In his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, Mike Ribble an author for The International Society for Technology in Education defines Digital Citizenship* as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. I have outlined some advice you can offer your students to help them become digital citizens.

  1. Keep Passwords Safe
    • Be very aware where you store password.  If you write it down, don’t keep it in a place that travels with you such as a backpack, notebook, or school binder. Instead as your parents to help you find a safe place that you will not forget.
    • Along with storage never reply or enter your email password through a digital request such as email or an online request.  This will ensure you avoid a possible scam.
  2. Review Social Network Privacy Settings
    • Make sure all setting are at a level you are comfortable with.  Many sites offer private and public settings.  Communicate with your parents to establish settings you all are comfortable with.
  3. Communicate with Parents
    • Tell your parents when something is posted on the internet that makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable.
    • Tell your parents what social media sites you are a member of.  Promote a trusting relationship with them and communicate where you spend your time online.
    • Inform your parents when someone tries to meet you in person while you are online. Someone you meet online is still considered a stranger.
    • Inform you parents when someone asks for your personal information.
  4. Be aware of Identify Theft
    • Make sure to log off in public computers.
    • Never share personal information such as social security numbers, phone numbers, address over instant messaging, chat rooms, or any other social media site.
  5. Avoid Revealing too much on Social Media/Blogs/Chat Rooms
    • When using sites such as Google +, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, pay close attention to what you provide and what they will reveal.  Revealing too much information about where you go to school, where you live, or favorite hangout places may put you in danger's way.  People know the sites that request this type of information, so be careful what you give them.
    • Communicate with your parents to establish profiles you all are comfortable with.
  6. Ignore Emails and Instant Messages from Strangers.
    • Never respond to messages from strangers. Even a “who is this?” response can put you at risk.
    • Never open attachments, or click on links from an unknown source. This can initiate a virus spreading on your computer, or release of private information.
  7. Be a Responsible Online Consumer
    • Be aware of the credibility of the source you are buying or selling goods to and/or from.
    • Question the credibility of the source.  Sites such as amazon, or major a manufacturer such as Apple, Nike etc. can be considered credible.
  8. Communicate with Kindness and Courtesy
    • When posting any message online be considerate of the feeling of others.  If you follow the general rule of treat others like you want to be treated, you will avoid accusations of bullying.
  9. Report Inappropriate Behavior
    • Communicate with parents, school administrators, teachers, or authorities whenever you see illegal or inappropriate behavior posted online.
  10. Monitor GPS Based Applications
    • Limit use of the applications that provide pinpoint locations of where you are or where you have recently visited.  Applications that offer a “check in” feature can be used by others to possible track and harm you.

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