My husband used to teach at a middle school, where there was a police officer on duty in a liaison-type role. The officer was also responsible for giving presentations to studentson the subject of safety, and my husband was able to witness the presentation related to online safety.
After explaining some of the ways that students can protect themselves online, the officer told the class that he was friends with ⅔ of the students, without their knowledge, on Facebook.
They were shocked.
“Wait, who are you?” (giggle)
“What’s your screen name?” (giggle)
“Why didn’t you tell us?” (giggle)
The officer waited until everyone had quieted down, the giggles and incredulity slowly easing.
“Why don’t YOU know who I am on Facebook?” he asked.
The students in the class slowly realized that he had proven his point: they had allowed people they didn’t even know to become “friends” with them – anyone could access their information via social media without even knowing who each person was. They had no idea who they had approved, or if anyone was using a false screen name. The officer gently suggested that they go back through their friends list to make sure that they knew every single person on that list, especially now that they knew at least one of those people was not “real.”
Students today are generally more careful than even 4 years ago when this all happened at my husband’s school. However, internet safety for students is still a critical issue. Teachers and parents need to be aware of ways to keep kids safe online, as changes occur at lightning speed. Here are some great resources to help you stay on top of keeping your students safe.
- NetsafeUtah.org:Offers a variety of Internet safety tools for students, educators, and parents.
- PBS: This resource offers specific search parameters to make sure you are addressing the topics you really want to tackle.
- Netsmartz.org: Lesson plans, training, and even an online presentation.
- This articlefrom the Global Digital Citizen Foundation offers 13 games that can guide students to be more aware and safe online.
- This post, by the Norton UK team, spells out the different sites that students tend to use, and ways to keep kids safe.
The Internet is a wonderfully unwieldy beast! Even though there’s no 100% guarantee, hopefully, these resources will help you to teach students to be safe and secure in their online travels. And, if nothing else, I hope this post prompts you to keep talking about the importance of online safety with your students!
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