The Internet can be a useful tool for students, who can go online when working on school reports. But the Internet also puts students at risk of falling victim to online predators. The Internet also keeps students in constant contact with their peers, which can be troublesome for students who want to get away when they get home at night. These reasons and more are motivation enough to encourage students to practice good digital citizenship and follow these safety tips when online.
- Exercise caution with photos and videos posted online. These images, even when posted harmlessly, can weigh on a student’s reputation. They may even impact acceptance to schools or career opportunities in the future. Always think before posting, as content remains in cyberspace indefinitely. And remember, many schools screen for inappropriate content. Sending harassing or inappropriate material to others may result in disciplinary action.
- Recognize the threat posed by online predators. The Crimes Against Children Research Center says one in five teenagers in the United States who regularly uses the Internet has received unwanted sexual solicitations through the web. In addition, 25 percent have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online. Students need to be aware that not everyone on the Internet is an upstanding citizen.
- Keep personal information private at all times. The service eMarketer says that 75 percent of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their families in exchange for goods and services. Students need to be better educated about protecting their passwords, ages, addresses, and other personal information.
- Stop cyberbullying before it starts. Students can be educated about the correct way to use the Internet and how to report cyberbullying. Students also can take pledges to never make others feel uncomfortable online.
Online safety is a growing concern for students, but there are ways to keep kids safe.