Since technology is abundant in the classroom, internet safety is something that you’ll have to think about on a regular basis as a teacher or educator. Just teaching it to kids isn’t enough, either! You need to practice it yourself. Internet safety for you is just as important as internet safety for everyone else. Keep reading to learn some of the most important internet safety tips for educators!
Internet Safety for Educators in the Classroom
Be Knowledgeable of Guidelines
Your school district, school, or IT professional has more than likely created internet safety guidelines that need to be followed in the classroom. These guidelines and policies typically cover things like social media usage, streaming platform usage, site accessibility, and more.
These guidelines will apply to everyone in the classroom, including both teachers and students. Oftentimes, certain sites will be blocked or require specific permission to use them. It’s important to be aware of what can and can’t be used so you don’t wind up accidentally breaking policy or procedure. Have these guidelines posted somewhere in your classroom so you can always double-check to see if something is all right.
Hold an Internet Safety 101
Teaching internet safety in the classroom is one way for you to learn how to be safe on the internet as well. At the beginning of the year, you should hold an “Internet Safety 101” type of course. In other words, take some dedicated time to teach your students exactly how to be safe on the internet. You can easily create the course yourself, but should include a few main important ideas:
- Don’t use identifiable information on social media. It seems logical to use your first and last name on social media profiles. Often, kids also want to display what school they go to, what grade they’re in, and use other identifying information when creating social media. It makes it easier for others to find their profiles, which may seem like a good thing… but not everyone on the internet is safe! Teach them to avoid displaying this personal information for their own safety.
- Always set your account to “private”. Most social media sites allow you the option of having a “private” profile, meaning that your username and profile picture would be the only thing available for the public to see without being your friend. To be your friend, you would have to accept their friend request. This is a great piece of advice for both students and teachers! Keeping your profile private keeps you safe and reduces the number of unsolicited messages or strangers lurking around your profile.
- Don’t accept every friend request. On some social media sites, such as Snapchat or even Instagram, accepting the friend request of someone you don’t know could mean your information gets compromised. The other user could even discover your location depending on your app settings. Make sure that you know who the person is before you accept the friend request or you could be at risk.
If you don’t want to worry about creating your own internet safety lesson, there are multiple lessons available online. Or, ask your school district for support. They more than likely already have an idea of what they’d like you to cover in an internet safety protocol!
Have Your Own Set of Guidelines
One great internet safety tip is to have your own set of guidelines. While knowing and following the school guidelines and restrictions is important, you should also have your own set of guidelines within the classroom to follow. Create a list of internet safety rules, times it’s okay to be on the internet, and anti-cyberbullying policies.
Post the rules somewhere in the classroom and discuss them with students and parents/guardians. This way, everyone is aware of the guidelines and there should be no argument if an issue arises.
Internet Safety Tips at Home
Keep Your Accounts Private
One important part of internet safety for educators is to always keep your accounts private. No matter what you’re posting, it’s easy for students or adults to take advantage of the posts or to find private information about you. In order to stay safe on the internet, all of your accounts should be private. It’s safer to use your middle name or something else instead of your real full name.
Be Aware of What You Post
Even if your account is private, it’s still important to be aware of what you post. As an educator, it’s especially important to not post anything that could ruin your reputation or harm your job in any way. Never post alcohol or other inappropriate images, and always be sure that your posts aren’t available to the public.
Make sure that your friends are aware that you don’t want to be tagged or photographed in any of these types of posts, either, to fully ensure that your reputation isn’t damaged. It’s normal for adults to engage in adult activities, but as a teacher, you may want to avoid posting about alcohol and other adult things so that you’ll remain a good role model in the eyes of parents and administration.
Don’t Accept Friend Requests from Parents or Students on Your Personal Account
It may be a good idea to avoid accepting friend requests from parents and students. Your information, including your posts, bio, and anything else on your account should stay private from your educational life. Accepting the friend requests of parents or students on your personal account may mean that your information becomes public or that you find yourself in an unsafe situation.
To keep things private while still connecting on social media, you may wish to have a separate “teacher account” where you don’t post all of your personal events. Always be aware of the friend requests you accept on each of your accounts. In general, it’s always a good idea to only accept requests from people that you know and trust.
Stay Safe on the Internet
Teaching your students internet safety is important, but creating a safe online environment can only happen if you also practice internet safety. At Nomad Internet, we want to promote good practices online. That’s why we provide you with safe, fast internet access so that you have one less thing to worry about whether you’re at home or on the road.
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