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Keeping kids safe on the Internet

50+ Resources for Teaching Kids to Properly and Safely Use the Internet

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Technology has become a ubiquitous part of our children’s world.  As the founder of Anastasis Academy, a 1:1 iPad school in Centennial, I’ve learned the importance of guiding children in proper use of technology.  Internet safety and digital literacy must be taught very intentionally both at school and at home.  Much of digital literacy echoes good safety practices in “real” life.
As you guide your children through proper Internet use, be sure to help them recognize the offline safety equivalent.  Below are our favorite resources to use with kids from kindergarten through Junior High broken down by safety topic.

Online Identity

Children tend to assume that if something is online, it must be true.  This is especially true of people they “meet” online.  Students believe that anyone on a social network, blog comments, forum, etc. are who they say they are.  It is important to help students understand that not everything and everyone online is what they seem.

Elementary:  Faux Paw the Techno Cat: Adventures in the Internet

professorgarfieldFaux Paw PDF book

Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs

Cyber Cafe: Think UKnow

Child Net: Primary

Internet Safety Cartoon

Professor Garfield: Internet Safety

Jr. High: NS Teens Friend or Fake- a video that helps students realize that not everyone they meet online is trustworthy

NS Teens- RescueRun Game

Be Seen app (iTunes)  (Google Play)

 ThinkUKnow Teen

ChildNet: Secondary

CyberSmart: Unwanted Contact

Everyone Knows You Online

Do you really know who you are talking to online video

What to do

Every year I ask students how many of them had seen something they knew they shouldn’t have online.  100% of kids from kindergarten through eighth grade would raise their hands.  When I followed up with: how many of you told an adult about it? Only about 2% in the same age group raise their hand!!  When you ask students why they don’t report to an adult they list the following reasons: I didn’t want to get in trouble; Mom/Dad/Teacher would take the technology away from me if they knew, it was just an accident so I don’t tell; I was embarrassed.  This is a big deal!  Kids need to know that there is a trusted adult in their life who can help them navigate their online interactions without blaming them for accidental exposure.

After sharing these videos, we discuss appropriate responses to inappropriate material.  I ask kids to turn off the screen without shutting the device down.  This keeps other students or siblings from seeing the inappropriate content before it can be reported.  If a child sees anything online that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, confused or something they know is inappropriate they should report it to a trusted adult right away.  I always let kids know that they will never be in trouble for reporting this to us.  It is a big help for us because then we know which sites to block so that other kids don’t run across the same material.  Empower your children to do the right thing by letting them know that they are doing their part to keep a wider community safe.  If your kids do come to you with inappropriate content, take a deep breath, thank them for their help and report the URL to your tech department to be black listed.  No matter how shocking the content is, do NOT get upset with the child  This will keep them from ever telling you about it again.  Do not punish kids for dong the right thing! Follow up as necessary to help the child properly navigate what they were exposed to.

Online Identity/Digital footprint

Children often separate who they are online with who they are in “real” life.  This is a mistake!  It is important for kids to understand that who they are online and who they are in person is one and the same.  Decisions made online can impact their real life in big ways!  Children also need to know what information is okay to share online, and what information is private and should not be shared online.

Elementary: NS Kids: Be safer online

NS Kids: Be safer offline

CyberSmart: Digital footprint

Jr. High: NS Teens: Profile Penalty

NS Teens: Tad’s Profile Panic game

Top Secret!

CyberSmart: Digital Reputation

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying is becoming a big issue for kids all over the world.  Kids say things to each other online (or about each other) that they wouldn’t dream of saying to someone in person.  It is important that kids know what cyber bullying is and what to do if they encounter a cyber bully. Kids need to know that it is always inappropriate to cyber bully in all of its forms.

Elementary: Faux Paw Meets the First Lady: How to Handle Cyberbullying

Faux Paw PDF book

Communications level 2 mission: cyberbullying

Stuart and Scout: Cyberbullyingbully-roundup

The Great Bully Roundup

Hector’s World: Cyberbullying

CyberSmart: Cyberbullying

Jr. High: NS Teens: Terrible tEXt

NS Teens: Cyberbully Zombies Attack

NS Teens: Stand by or Stand Up comic

CyberSmart Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying video

 Cyberbully virus video

Online Privacy

Here’s the thing about making online content private: it’s never really totally private.  Kids forget that even if they only share with people they know, the people they know may not necessarily keep online content private.  I always use the example of my mom who keeps many of her pictures “private” online.  However, I have access to those photos and nothing stops me from downloading them or taking a screen shot and sharing them with the world.  It is important for kids to know if something is digital, that it can be shared.

Elementary: NS Kids: Passwords

NS Kids: Password game

Google: Playing and Staying Safe Online

safetylandDisney Surfswell Island

Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy

Safety Land

Communications Level 1 Mission: Personal Information

Hector’s World Personal Information

Do’s and Don’ts when using social networks

Jr. High: NS Teen: Post to be Private

NS Teen: Stop that post…again game

NS Teen: Stop that post! game

Google: Playing and Staying Safe Online

CyberSmart: Identity Theft

Online Safety bulletin board video

Do’s and Don’ts when using social networks

Online Discernment

Children tend to believe that everything they read or see online is true.  Obviously this is SO not the case!  Help your kids learn how to have discernment as they are surfing the net.

ElementaryGoogle: Detecting Lies

cocoCo-co’s AdverSmarts: An Interactive Unit on Food Marketing on the Web

CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of the Three CyberPigs

Passport to the Internet: Student tutorial for Internet Literacy

Using the web for research

Jr. High: Google: Detecting Lies

Allies and Aliens: A Mission in Critical Thinking

Jo Cool or Jo Fool

MyWorld: A digital literacy tour for secondary students

Using the web for research

Parent Resources:

Net Smartz: Includes an online safety education kit, teaching materials, presentations

Web Wise Kids: teacher resources, safety night, safety kits

iKeep Safe: Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum

Media Smarts: lessons, resources, professional development

Carnegie Cyber Academy: lessons, game guides, printouts/activities

ThinkUKnow- videos, lessons, resources

Child Net- presentations, resources, lessons, videos

CyberSmart- resources, professional development

Google: Good to Know

Tree Octopus- Help Kids see that not everything that is online is true.  The Octopus Tree Frog site will put their critical thinking skills to the test!

 Remember, as you go through these topics and resources for kids, it is crucial that you tie in the equivalent off-line behavior.  Think stranger danger, reporting inappropriate behavior, bullying, and critical thinking.
Kelly Tenkely is a founder of Anastasis Academy, an innovative and technology rich school located in Centennial, Colorado. 
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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber October 5, 2013

    I was recently talking about people being not correctly teaching their kids how to be safe online. What a tremendous resource.

  • comment avatar rana October 5, 2013

    Wow!!!!!!! Thanks for posting.

  • Pingback:50+ Resources for Teaching Kids to Properly and...

  • comment avatar Anne October 10, 2013

    What a great resource for parents. Definitely bookmarking this for future reference. Thanks for sharing this!

  • comment avatar Bruce Smith October 10, 2013

    Yes, it’s important to support children in their encounters with the Internet so that they do so safely and responsibly. However, I disagree that this process requires an extensive list of links or even a great deal of instruction. At Alpine Valley School (http://alpinevalleyschool.com), a mixed-age community based on respect and responsibility, we watch out for each other. Rules against behavior outside of community norms and against endangering oneself are reinforced by genuine concern for each other’s welfare. When students violate those norms, peer-controlled processes ensure a fair and reasonable resolution.

    Safety is paramount. My point is that we need not be driven by fear or by the notion that it’s entirely up to us to tell young people how to be safe. Children know more and are more careful than we typically give them credit for. A supportive school environment like ours gives them the opportunity to practice being responsible for themselves, with plenty of people to support them in the process.

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