The following post is a guide to internet safety for students in high school. It was completed as part of work in Boise State Ed Tech 541.
As young adults in a connected world, you likely spend a fair amount of time online. Whether you are gaming, connecting with friends or doing research for school, there are some things that you must keep in mind to develop a safe and healthy online presence. Much of the advice boils down to common sense, but there can be aspects of working and living online that are trickier to pick up on. As you work your way through cyberspace, keep the following in mind:
- Be Respectful– Always be respectful of the people you are talking to and talking about online. Because online work creates a sense of distance and anonymity, many people say things they would not normally say to someone in a face-to-face situation. When working online, what you write and what you post will likely be permanently out there for all to see (even if you delete it!) Be smart and show the world you best side. Also, refrain from tagging friends in pictures. Let them make that decision on their own.
- Be Safe– As most people know, there are many dangers out in the cyberworld. While making connections with people can be very rewarding and helpful, never give out personal information. Using your first name only (or include last initial if you have to), keeping locations and addresses to yourself and not sharing other personal details are all great ways to stay safe.
- Be Smart– As you search for content on the internet, you will very likely come across information from questionable sources. Now that anyone connected to the internet can share their opinions, it can be difficult to determine what is fact and what is opinion (or fiction). Always ask yourself “who posted this?” and “why did they post it?” Being aware of your virtual surroundings is an important skill to develop in this modern world.
- Be Careful– While much of what you do on the internet poses little danger, you have to be aware that there are very real dangers. Emails and other downloads can contain viruses and other malware that can harm your computer or send out personal information. Never open emails from unknown senders. Delete them immediately.
- Set Limits– As young adults, you are gaining more and more independence. With this independence comes the need to set limits for yourselves. Just like overindulging in food can have negative consequences, overindulging in time online has potential negative impacts as well. Set limits for both work and social time online. Take the time to meet friends in person, not just online.
For more information on Internet Safety, visit the following sites:
- Child Safety on the Information Highway on Safekids.com
- Real Life Stories on Netsmartz.org
- 10 Simple Steps to Internet Safety on Commonsensemedia.org
- Internet Safety on Kidshealth.org
Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Internet safety tips for middle school kids. Retrieved July 15, 2012, from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/internet-safety-tips-middle-school-kids
Common Sense Media. (2012, June 19). Parents’ Guide to Protecting Kids’ Privacy Online. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/parents-guide-to-protecting-kids-privacy-online
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (2012, July 12). Netsmartz Workshop: Safety. Retrieved from http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/safetytips.