Children’s Online Safety with Social Media

The recent hype in the media about the political scandal and Twitter, renews concerns about children’s safety online with social media.  As a middle school teacher, this is an especially important topic as children need to be aware of their online surroundings.

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Lesson Idea – Posts are NOT Private

Children need to be aware that even if their profiles and accounts are set to private, this does not mean that any of the information they post is necessarily private.  I show this example by having the students put on a skit.

One child is the ‘online poster’, one is the ‘friend’, another is the ‘friend of the friend’, and one is the principal.  The poster puts something up on their account that is questionable such as an inappropriate picture, a video, or a post/tweet.  The friend sees the post and decides to show another friend.  This friend then saves the post and takes it to show the principal of the school because they are concerned about the content

Another variation of the skit could include the boss of a potential job seeing the inappropriate material or even a college recruiter.

Lesson Idea – Cyberbullying

A great lesson that involves students learning about Cyberbullying would be to have them create a cyberbullying policy that could be included with the school’s AUP (Acceptable Use Policy).  If the students create the policy of how to prevent cyberbullying and what to do in case someone is cyberbullied, they are more adept to follow the rules.

The policy could be created online using a Wiki where students can all add and modify the document. The children who created the policy could then go around and explain the policy and encourage others to follow the policy.  Going one step further, they could create a ‘contract’ against cyberbullying that they could sign as an oath not to cyberbully.  Those who sign the contract could then earn a ‘prize’ like an anti-bullying bracelet.

More Lessons Ideas to Teach Online Safety

  1. I Heart Ed Tech – 5 Lesson Plans to teach online safety
  2. CyberSmart Curriculum – Lesson Ideas for K-12 for cyberbullying prevention
  3. FTC – Social Media Safety Information 7 Links

Teaching directed lessons for children to be aware of and learn more about online safety is needed.  It is a very pertinent topic for today’s society.  Providing children with a correct way of using technology, social media, and online ethics can help them to make better choices while online.

Article by Laura Ketcham

Picture by IvanWalsh.com

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