Internet Safety and Digital CitizenshipBy Carmen Restrepo Ed.D
The Internet has changed the way that children interact with the world. Children have access to in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity, and people from all over the world. Although children have new and exciting ways of connecting with the world, the Internet also offers new risks. Parents and students need to know the security risks of sharing risks of sharing personal information online and how to protect their privacy.
Wikipedia defines Internet safety, or online safety is the knowledge of maximizing the user’s personal safety against security risks to private information and property associated with using the Internet, and the self-protection from computer crime in general.
The Cajon Valley Union School District and Common Sense Media joined together to offer a Digital Citizenship curriculum to all students in grades K-8. developed mandatory Internet Safety lesson for all students. Design Learning Academy requires all students to participate in four annual lessons: Internet Safety, Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying and Chromebook Care. These lessons provide students with in-depth knowledge to navigate and interact in the online world in a safe and appropriate manner. Parents can assist their students by having background knowledge in everything a student needs to know to interact safely in an online world. Vicki Davis, a teacher and author of the Flat Classroom, provides some basic concepts parents can cover with their students.
- Passwords - Do students know how to create a secure password? Do they know that email and online banking should have a higher level of security and never use the same passwords as other sites? Do they have a system like LastPass for remembering passwords, or a secure app where they store this information? (See 10 Important Password Tips Everyone Should Know.)
- Privacy - Do students know how to protect their private information like address, email, and phone number? Private information can be used to identify you. (I recommend the Common Sense Media Curriculum on this.)
- Personnel Information - While this information (like the number of brothers and sisters you have or your favorite food) can't be used to identify you, you need to choose who you will share it with.
- Photographs - Are students aware that some private things may show up in photographs (license plates or street signs), and that they may not want to post those pictures? Do they know how to turn off a geotagging feature? Do they know that some facial recognition software can find them by inserting their latitude and longitude in the picture -- even if they aren't tagged? (See the Location-Based Safety Guide)
- Property - Do students understand copyright, Creative Commons, and how to generate a license for their own work? Do they respect property rights of those who create intellectual property? Some students will search Google Images and copy anything they see, assuming they have the rights. Sometimes they'll even cite "Google Images" as the source. We have to teach them that Google Images compiles content from a variety of sources. Students have to go to the source, see if they have permission to use the graphic, and then cite that source.
- Permission - Do students know how to get permission for work they use, and do they know how to cite it?
- Protection - Do students understand what viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, and identity theft are, and how these things work?
- Professionalism - Do students understand the professionalism of academics versus decisions about how they will interact in their social lives? Do they know about netiquette and online grammar? Are they globally competent? Can they understand cultural taboos and recognize cultural disconnects when they happen, and do they have skills for working out problems?
- Personnel Brand - Have students decided about their voice and how they want to be perceived online? Do they realize they have a "digital tattoo" that is almost impossible to erase? Are they intentional about what they share?
Additional resources and vocabulary include; There are nine elements to Digital Citizenship
- Digital Access - full electronic participation in society
- Digital Commerce - electronic buying and selling of goods.
- Digital Communication - electronic exchange of information.
- Digital Literacy - process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
- Digital Etiquette - electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
- Digital Law - electronic responsibility for actions and deeds.
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities - physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
- Digital Health and Wellness - electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
Design Learning Academy, Cajon Valley’s online Home School Alternative is committed to keeping all students and parents safe and informed. In order to support our families in navigating an online world, we’ve included some additional videos and resources parents can share and discuss with students.
Brain PopJr. - Internet Safety for kids grades K-3
Internet Safety Tutorials - GCFLearnFree.org
Videos to launch conversations with your students - Five-minute Film Festival Teaching Digital Citizenship