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10 useful tips on implementing Internet safety in your classroom or home
Safer Internet Day reminds us that we all need to join and play our part in creating a better internet for everyone, especially for younger users. You can find out more about Safer Internet Day here http://bit.ly/2DHxyyb
The Internet is one of the most amazing developments in modern times. Some countries like Finland, France and Greece have stipulated that access to the Internet is a basic human right. The Internet is undoubtedly one of the best tools for a child’s learning. However, the Internet can also be a harmful place. We often hear the terms ‘cyber bullying’ ‘phishing’ ‘çyber safety’ ‘too much screen time’ ‘digital literacy’ ‘fake news’ etc. as our world becomes increasingly digital. As teachers and parents, we want our children to make use of the Internet, but we also want them to be safe, happy and ethical online. How can we achieve this? The good news is that these concepts nowadays are grouped under an umbrella known as ‘digital citizenship’. Michael Gorman, an advocate of digital citizenship, defines digital citizenship as ‘the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour regarding technology use’.
In this post we would like to give you 10 useful tips on implementing digital citizenship ideas in your classroom or home so that the young people in your care become responsible Internet users.
1. If a child is alone and no one else is around, the web can be a dangerous place. Keep your home computer in the living room or a public space. If possible, obtain a big, high-definition monitor that everyone can look at. Teachers keep Internet use social and interactive and always give your learners tips about keeping safe on the Internet.
2. With older children, stay abreast with their online use until you know that they have developed a sense of online responsibility.
3. Ensure the young people in your care understand they should not be posting home addresses, phone numbers and personal information online. Who can see their pictures? What are they sharing? Discuss scenarios and real-life situations that you have come across to illustrate the dangers.
Encourage responsible Internet use at all time.
4. We should never post rude or personal comments about others on the Internet. These are classed as ‘cyber-bullying’ and can lead to disastrous consequences.
5. Make sure that screen time is limited. It should not replace a child’s participation in a variety of activities. Remember that all children need plenty of exercise. Do not let screen time rob them of this.
6. We want young people to make the most of the great opportunities offered by the online world. However, they need to learn how to think critically, to analyse information and to identify hoaxes and fake news. Have conversations around these matters constantly to raise awareness.
7. Warn your children about files that pop up in the Internet. They are dangerous to download. Always ignore them no matter how exciting they look. Children should always be careful about downloading free programs. Many of these have other programs attached to them that are potentially harmful or irritating.
8. Remind children that they should never meet up secretly with people they meet on the Internet. People who are strangers are sometimes not who they say they are. Young people should always tell someone they trust when something abnormal happens on the Internet.
9. Take advantage of your browser's parental controls. Most Internet browsers have an ‘Internet options’ folder where you can easily set up security safeguards and content filters. Or alternatively, allow your children to use browsers created just for children.
10. If you allow your children to use instant message with online friends, make sure they are truly talking to real friends - not strangers, child predators, or identity thieves masquerading as friends. Help them create personal identity-proof chat room nicknames that don't enclose their real names and other private data.
Setting strict rules for your young children's Internet adventures protects them from inappropriate content, cyberbullies, identity thieves and child predators.