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10 Rules for Your Classroom Internet Safety Policy

10 Rules for Your Classroom Internet Safety Policy

By Simon Migliano

The internet can be a helpful tool and valuable forum for connecting with people across the world—for people who know how to use it.

For students, it can be an online portal fraught with danger and temptations. Unfortunately, digital actions and choices can have real-life consequences, making an Internet Safety Policy critical for your classroom.

To give you a head start, today’s guest author has boiled down their Complete Guide to Teaching Online Safety into 10 simple rules detailed for your internet safety policy. Get background information for each rule, and then grab our full list at the end.

More: 10 Classroom Rules for Using Technology

1. Keep sensitive information private.

With so many recent data breaches, it’s critical that students learn to keep certain information private at a young age.

2. Don’t interact with strangers.

Messaging apps and social media has made it easier than ever for students to encounter the wrong person. Your students need to know that online strangers are potential predators will lie to them.

More: 23 Best Educational Websites: Social Media, Chatting and Web Browsing

3. Know the laws that protect you, your privacy, and your rights.

Teachers need to teach and be familiar with the laws and acts that are in place to keep students safe. These include:

  • Child’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
  • Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • Cyberbullying laws

CIPA relates to the school’s responsibility to censor the computer access on the campus, COPPA puts the responsibility on website operators to protect children’s’ privacy. Understanding all of these laws is paramount in educating your students.

4. Zero tolerance of cyberbullying, if you see it, report it.

These internet policies must include cyberbullying prevention and reporting. According to StopBullying.gov, 9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying, and this bullying can have severe and even life-threatening consequences. Students must understand the severity of it and know that real ramifications will be enforced for anyone who’s caught participating in it.

5. Engage in appropriate online behavior.

Students need to understand the basics of what constitutes appropriate online behavior. This could be taught by giving examples of appropriate behavior and appropriate actions.

Check out 20 Basic Rules For Digital Citizenship for some ideas.

6. Don’t download anything without permission.

Viruses often infect computers when somone downloads an infected file. This is just one way hackers are able to access personal information; by implementing this rule, you’re one step closer to keeping private informatio, and your devices, safe.

More: 32 Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12 Teachers

7. Don’t click on any suspicious links.

Links are another way viruses can get into a computer. Students are especially susceptible to pop-up scams and malevolent links that contain viruses and spyware.

8. Don’t overshare on social media; once you post it, it never truly goes away

Nearly half of kids have regretted something they posted on social media, according to McAfee. While this could fall under appropriate online behavior, social media in particular has provided students with a platform to broadcast to the world at any time of the day.

More: The Pro’s and Con’s of Teaching Social Media in the Classroom

9. Treat online relationships with caution.

Another important topic is online relationships and the complications of relationships in the digital age. Many underaged children are “catfished” by older people lying about their identity, often going so far as to have full fake profiles complete with pictures and a large number of friends or followers just to look more legitimate.

10. Keep a clean digital footprint.

The importance and permanence of students’ digital footprint and how their Internet conduct could affect their future is a crucial piece of these rules. Things that they send via text, social media, email, etc. are never truly deleted—just don’t do it. Continue to reiterate that their Internet choices can affect their futures, including relationships, college admissions, and job opportunities.

More: What Do Your Students’ Digital Footprint Look Like?

The Internet Safety Policy

  1. Never share your address, phone number, full name or parents’ names without teacher permission. If you’re ever unsure of a site’s legitimacy or an appropriate amount of information to share, ask a parent or teacher.
  2. “Stranger danger” applies to everything you do online. Don’t talk to anyone you don’t know, unless the teacher has instructed you.
  3. Don’t visit any site your teacher has not instructed you to go to or visit.
  4. If you see cyberbullying, report it to a teacher or other adult immediately.
  5. Exhibit appropriate online behavior at all times: No cyberbullying, no name calling, and no sharing of inappropriate images and videos.
  6. Don’t download anything unless otherwise instructed, including files, programs, apps or games.
  7. Never click on unfamiliar links or pop-up windows, including links via email and social media.
  8. Share only your successes and kindest words. Don’t post overly emotional content, like if you’re mad at someone or activities that your teacher or parents would be upset about.
  9. Don’t trust anyone you meet online, even if you think they’re your age or friendly. Always check with a teacher or parent first.
  10. Your digital footprint will never go away. Never post something online that you’re uncertain about. Always ask a teacher or parent.

The internet unlocks a wealth of information, students just need guidance on how to navigate the online world. Anyone using the internet is susceptible to hackers and viruses, and the best chance students have to combat this is with safe Internet practices.

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