Celebrate Safer Internet Day, February 5th 2019 this month with your students. This year’s theme is ‘together for a better internet’, an appropriate theme for the mission. Cultivating the conversation of Internet safety within your classroom can help encourage students to practice these behaviors outside of school as well. As teachers, we strive to protect our students and give them the best education possible. With technology playing a bigger role in today’s classroom environment, it’s important to encourage safe use of the devices they interact with on a daily basis.
Here are our top focus areas for teachers to bring to their classroom this Safer Internet Day:
Internet Safety 101
Incorporating a basic overview of the ins and outs of the devices they will be using in your classroom and how to stay safe on them can go a long way. If your school does not have the proper software installed on their devices such as antivirus protection, urge your administrators to consider adopting one of their choosing.
Are your student’s taking these lessons outside of the classroom as well? Check in regularly with parents through newsletters and at scheduled parent-teacher conferences where you can gauge their knowledge and enforcement of these ideals. Another great option for your students and their parents is to share valuable internet safety resources on your school’s website or if you have one, a personal classroom blog. They can be valuable to parents who are still new to emerging technology, social media and other aspects of the Internet.
Appropriate Online Behavior
Worryingly, almost 40% of students admitted engaging with strangers online during a recent survey by CyberSafeIreland. Teaching students the importance of being on the lookout for anything, anyone or any situations that make them uncomfortable online can prevent them from being exposed to the inappropriate content and web users. This can also help them avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Along with this comes the importance of protecting your personal information from becoming exposed. Oversharing is one of the most common ways a child’s identifiable information can end up in the hands of a cybercriminal. Identity theft is actually more common in children than you may think. Every click, share, and like they post online contributes to their digital footprint which may be investigated in the future by higher education admission programs and employers.
The number one thing that teachers emphasise in their classroom is to be kind to one another. Yet, this message often gets forgotten outside the walls of the classroom. With technology, children and teens are able to hide themselves with the anonymity of the Internet. This leads to major issues of cyberbullying. As teachers, we try our best to protect our students from danger, but it’s difficult when the bullying happens secretly online among peers. The best way to combat cyberbullying is to be aware of the signs. When a child is straying away from social interaction, seeming less cheerful than usual or even taking days off of school can all be signs of cyberbullying.
Putting a stop to the cyberbullying is the first step. As a teacher, you aren’t always as aware as your students may be to the situation. Teach your students to stand up for others. If they see something, let them know you are a trusting person to say something to. For more see Webwise, Dealing with Cyberbullying in School.