The incorporation of technology into the classroom exposes students to different security issues than we may previously had to deal with. The reality of the dangers accessible through the computer are real, but they should not deter teachers from utilizing technology. It is important to protect students and teach them responsible us while working online.
Two important documents for educators to be familiar with are CIPA and COPPA. CIPA is the Children's Internet Proection Act (Guide can be found here), and COPPA is Children's Online Protection Privacy Act. COPPA terms can be found here, and a document on how to comply with COPPA is also published here.
CIPA requires school systems to restrict access to specific content online. The limits often err on the side of caution which means blocked access to useful sites. I believe that moderating access to sites is important, but it is also important to teach responsible use. Instead of removing student access from sites like YouTube, we should instead teach students to be responsible users of such content.
One of my favorite resources for internet safety is Common Sense Media. This resource provides a wealth of information for both teachers and parents. For teachers, the site offers great reviews of apps, websites, and games. One great component of the site is the section on Digital Citizenship. As educators, it is important that we teach even our youngest students about what it means to be a responsible online citizen. Students should learn about the reputation they build with the content they share. Students should also learn about the digital footprint that they begin to build with internet use.
For 3rd-5th grade teachers, Digital Passport is a free resource from Common Sense Media which teaches students about responsible internet use. The website gives teachers great resources to begin to teach digital citizenship concepts to students. Something that students need to learn is that everything created and posted online is essentially permanent. Even though you may delete something you posted, that does not mean it is completely gone. It makes it more difficult for someone to retrieve, but once you post something you no longer have control over where it may end up.
The third resource for educators is NetSmartz. I found a link to request a free Online Safety Resource kit from this website. This website includes lots of resources related to safety when utilizing online tools. My students have learned not to share private information online. Sometimes, students don't even realize that they're sharing too much information. This page was especially useful as I gather resources to discuss this topic with my students.
This video is one of my favorites to show how images can be spread from person to person. It is important for students to realize what risks they take when sending content to others, even if it is a close friend.
For the high school teachers, I came across this video recently. It is teachers reading tweets by students out loud, similar to Jimmy Kimmel's skit. It could be used to discuss what students post and share online.
This post was originally created for my graduate degree course work. The original post can be found here.
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.