Tips on Keeping Students Safe Online
Tuesday, February 7, 2023, is National Safer Internet Day. This day was created to celebrate the use of safer and better internet. It is aimed at schools where students are empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. ConnectSafely is the official host of the United States event but Safer Internet Day is celebrated in more than one hundred countries worldwide. 2023’s theme is Together for a Better Internet.
In the United States, the main topic areas are media literacy, critical thinking, civility, scams, and cyber bullying. Tekscape is a nationally based IT managed service provider to schools throughout the United States. We believe in the power of the internet to help students learn and connect but we also believe in keeping students safe while online. Here are some tips on keeping students safe online to celebrate National Safer Internet Day.
Remind students to never post or share personal information online.
With the use of social media and messaging apps, it can be very hard to have complete online privacy. However, there are certain things that students should never post online or share with other people. Passwords are number one, students will often share their passwords to let their peers use streaming services, gaming accounts, and other online activities. Password sharing is a leading cause of data breaches and identity theft.
Students should also never share their location with anyone even if there is an incentive for doing it. Even if they are not sharing their location, they should also never tell anyone on the internet where they are or where they live. Phone numbers should also never be shared online. Students may assume there is no danger associated with sharing their number with someone who just wants to text them. Any number that is shared online has the potential of the student’s home address being discovered.
Teach students how to browse the internet safely.
One of the simplest ways to tell if a website is secure and safe to browse is to check the site’s address bar. A safe site will read HTTPS. HTTP sites, on the other hand, are not secure. HTTPS sites have encrypted data being sent. Students who enter their passwords or other information sites that are listed as HTTP are in danger of having their data stolen.
Students should also be discouraged from downloading attachments.
This is especially important if they are using a device that is connected to the school’s network. Younger students may be coerced into downloading malicious attachments when they click on pop up contests or the promise of a freebie. It may not be possible to completely restrict students from visiting the sites that have these malicious pop ups, but teachers can help by telling students what to look out for and what the consequences could be if they download malicious attachments.
Cyber criminals don’t discriminate and cyber-crimes against people under twenty years old rose dramatically in 2020. Children need to be encouraged to be honest and communicate their concerns about issues that arise from their internet related activities. Parents should also be involved in making sure their kids are safe online.
Some questions to ask children are:
• Are you spending a lot of time on social media?
• What makes you want to spend time online?
• Do you feel safe while using the internet?
Letting kids talk about their concerns with the internet without criticism or judgment will allow them to be honest about their fears and whether they have experienced a situation that has made them feel unsafe. When kids feel safe about their internet habits, they are less likely to want to keep the problem to themselves.
Teach students to conduct data mines on themselves.
Students should conduct a data mine of their names and usernames every three to six months. The reason for the data mine is to see what information is available for businesses and the public to see. Businesses will often conduct data mining as a way to learn about customer’s interests and the products they are looking at. It gives them a competitive advantage but can violate your privacy. Here are some ways a student can conduct a data mine on themselves.
• Use different browsers, not just the ones the students usually use. Chrome, Bing, Safari, Firefox, and Yahoo should all be checked.
• Search full legal names, nicknames, and usernames with quotation marks.
• Always look beyond the first page of search results. Search names and usernames in at least the first five pages of search results.
• Take notes of where the results appear and what information is out there.
We hope you learned some effective tips on keeping students safe while online. Thank you for celebrating National Safer Internet Day with us. If you need help keeping your students safe online or have questions about managed information technology for education, please reach out to Tekscape.