With kids accessing the internet at an increasingly younger age, it becomes imperative that we teach children about the dangers existing online as well as ways to stay safe online.
Do note that keeping elementary students safe online doesn’t necessarily mean restricting their freedom to use the internet, limiting internet usage or excessive monitoring. There has to be a balance between allowing students to explore the internet resources while still ensuring online safety. While empowering students on surfing the web for homework, they need to learn which websites to avoid too.
Here are some tips that help keep young students stay safe online:
- Teach your children about the golden rule of netiquette. Just like they wouldn’t want to be rude in person, they should similarly practice good manners online too. They should treat others the way they want to be treated too – whether online or off the screen.
- Discuss the importance of leaving digital footprints behind. Any information they put out on the web might become public and be almost impossible to get rid of. Make sure they know about the different types of activities that leave a digital footprint behind.
- Create real-life situations for young students to learn from a practical point of view. They can then experience first-hand about the backlash of posting inappropriate photos or the possible dangers and consequences of visiting inappropriate websites. Let the students then relate the lessons learned this way.
- For young elementary-level kids, parental approval means everything. This means that parents too need to be involved and educated on online safety measures for their kids. Parents should also be able to have honest conversations with their children regarding his/her online experiences.
- Educating young students about online safety and etiquette should be done in a fun way. Teach them about keeping important information private through the acronym YAPPY – Y-Your full name, A-Address, P-Phone number, P-Passwords and Y-Your daily plans and location.
- Cyberbullying has doubled over the past decade with many students having witnessed it. Teach students about cyberbullying prevention and to speak up if someone is being cyber-bullied or to tell an adult. They should also be respectful towards others online and not hurt or embarrass them.