The Internet is an incredible thing - allowing us to communicate, connect, collaborate, learn and share with people all over the world. However, there is also the dark side of the internet - predators, scams, and more.
Our students use the internet at home, at school, and all around with their mobile devices. Simply blocking certain types of web sites is not the answer to protect them. We need to teach them how to use the internet responsibly and how to be safe on the internet.
Here are some resources to help do that:
Make Use Of - 6 Internet Safety Games To Help Kids Become Cyber Smart
Make Use Of, a great resource in itself, has listed 6 online safety games that help kids learn how to be safe and smart online. They include: Webonauts Internet Academy, Safety Land, Internet Safety Hangman, Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Game, Anti-Phising Phil, and OnGuard Online.
These games are a great way to teach kids about internet safety.
Google Family Safety Center is a resource for parents and educators that has ideas, advice, and tips on how to keep kids safe online, tools to select what the children can see online, and much more.
With all the issues and concerns about internet safety, Google Family Safety Center offers a free resource for parents and teachers. We need to teach children how to be safe online, both at home and in school.
For tools, Google offers SafeSearch and YouTube Safety mode, as well as video tips, advice from partner organizations, and links to other resources.
Digital Literacy is an animated, interactive web site that teaches students about digital literacy, safe use of the internet and more. The site is hosted by the Northwest Learning Grid.
The site is beautifully designed with swirling graphics and minimal menus. It starts by asking the student to select one thing that they do on the internet. It then brings the student to a quiz about using the internet for that task.
The quiz asks some really good questions about the internet and it's usage for the task it selected. The site then "grades" the quiz with some feedback and brings the student to a menu of tutorials about internet use. Some of the tutorials go over analyzing web sites and blogs for relevancy, accuracy, and objectiveness.
I found the site to be fun and easy to use with some great information for students.
Web Wise Kids - http://www.webwisekids.org/index.asp - is a great resource for parents and schools. It has a variety of resources, many free, to help educate students on the dangers of online predators, sexting, and more. Some resources only have a "suggested donation." The costs are minimal and the resources are very good. You can also sign up to get updates of new and emerging technologies and how they can present issues for kids.
We need to teach our students safe, responsible use of the internet, not block it.