Although parents bear the main responsibility in ensuring students are using electronics safely and responsibly, educators can play a part in making sure they know the basics.
Internet safety remains a priority as students return to school, and every adult in a student's life plays an important role in promoting safe online activity. Although parents bear the main responsibility in ensuring students are using electronics safely and responsibly, educators can play a part in making sure they know the basics.
What can educators do? Mobile devices do not have to be the enemy. Educators can teach digital citizenship by reinforcing safe and appropriate online behavior:
- Avoid sharing personal information online. Emphasize the importance of keeping personal information private (name, address, phone number, etc.).
- Disable location-based services on mobile devices. A device's built-in global positioning system (GPS) allows location-based services, or geolocation, to locate and publish information about the user's whereabouts. Enabling this feature can alert predators or cyberbullies to a student's location at any time.
- Limit the number of personal photos posted online. Also, encourage students to ask permission before posting someone else's photo online.
- Be cautious when making new "friends". Students tend to meet people online who have similar interests. Online profiles, however, are not always honest and people aren't always who they appear to be. Students should take caution and restrict their online friends to people they know in real life.
- Turn on "Safety Mode". When using online services, like YouTube or Google, enable safety settings on school computers and demonstrate how students can do it on their own devices. This shields students from adult content and prevents them from seeing profanity and other suggestive comments.
Internet use is a daily part of most students' lives. After school educators can help ensure that it is safe and responsible while also keeping it fun and educational.