ET541 Week 5 Safety on the Internet

This week’s topic is ” Online Tools, Uses, Web-based tools, and social networking. As part of the week’s assignments we are to create two Blog posts. This is the first of two posts for the week: “Safety on the Internet”.

In the audio introduction to chapter 6, Roblyer states “today’s students are first-generation citizens of a digital society, pioneers in a country that has no borders and whose contours took shape only in the last decade. Students are quick to seek out the paths of this new frontier, but slower to recognize and avoid its pitfalls.” As a teacher, I must not only help my students learn and explore earth science and physics, but also help them learn to be good digital citizens.

Some of the pitfalls that students (and teachers) may encounter as a result of internet use include: access to inappropriate materials, safety and privacy concerns, computer viruses and hacking, fraud and phishing, online identity and reputation concerns, online plagiarism and cyber cheating. First, we will briefly discuss each as well as guidelines to avoid the pitfalls. Next, will be a Top Ten List for being  a good Digital Citizen, and last links for additional information.

Inappropriate Materials: Filtering software is set up at most schools to filter out “inappropriate” material. No filter is fool proof, and sometimes filter outs sites that have educational benefits (YouTube, for example). Students and teachers alike should be aware of the material and report any concerns.

Safety and Privacy Concerns: Social Networking Sites allow students to communicate with their peers locally and from around the world. Some concerns include: on-line predators, unwanted advertising, privacy concerns, and cyberbullying.

On-line Predators: Students should learn that a person online may not be who they say. Students should never give out personal information (full name, address, numbers, location) to anyone online. Students should never plan a in-person meeting with someone they have met online. Students should report any invitations received from an online acquaintance to a teacher or another trusted adult.

On-line Advertising: students should not be lured into clicking or buying anything from advertisements on websites.

Privacy Concerns: Teachers (and students) should be careful to never use last names, addresses, numbers, etc  in any online products such as class websites, presentations, etc.  This reminds me of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996) known as HIPPA. Health care providers are required to have patients sign HIPPA forms, and must be careful about to whom, how, what, and where they communicate patient information. For example, medical staff should not discuss patient information in a hospital elevator. Teachers, too should take care with what, how, to whom, and where they communicate student information. Teachers (and schools) may want to have students and parents sign a technology use and permission slip to allow student images, web products, etc to be published to the web, as well as to allow students to create and access free accounts such as Gmail, Prezi, etc. The form should also detail what is acceptable use of computers, internet at school and at home.

CyberBullying: is the use of technology to bully others. Students need to be educated from an early age about bullying (both in person and online). Schools need to educate their students about what is cyberbullying, and what to do if a student is being bullied or knows of someone that is being bullied.

Computer viruses and hacking: It is easy to infect a computer with a virus by clicking on a link or downloading software. Both students and teachers should only open links if from a safe source, and download software from trusted websites. Virus protection is helpful but cannot prevent all viruses, so care must be taken.

Fraud and phishing: If making a purchase be sure the site is safe with https: and the lock icon. Never give out or share personal information (PINS, SS#, etc) on line. Reputable companies will NOT ask for this information!

Online Identity and Reputation: Once something is posted online it remains for digital eternity. Students (and teachers) should take care to post appropriate images and comments. A “Digital Footprint is the trail left behind as a result of their social media interactions” (Roblyer, p.176). Students (and teachers) should take care of their digital footprint. Remember colleges and future employers often look at digital footprints! More on that in the top 10 list!

Online plagiarism and cybercheating: Students have access to so much information, but must take care to credit sources for written word and images. To take credit for someone else’s work is not only unethical, but can be illegal if infringing on copyright laws!

Top Ten List for being  a good Digital Citizen based on Netiquette for the High School Student (Cooney, 2013) and Netiquette:Rules for Good Manners in Digital Communications (Roblyer, p178) and Rules of Learning on-line etiquette: the role model (Roblyer, p. 179).

10. Think twice before you post. If you think a college admission officer, or parent, or future employer , or …(you fill in the blank) should not see this, then it should probably NOT be posted! Your Digital Footprint is forever!

9. Use appropriate language and grammar. Again, your digital footprint stays with you, and it is best to use good language and grammar.

8. Stay safe. Never give out personal information to someone you have met online. The friend you met online may actually be a predator. Again, NEVER give out your full name, address, phone number, location, etc.

7. Stay Safe (part 2). NEVER make plans to meet in person someone you met online (see #8 above!).

6. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Do not use the internet to bully others. Think before you post. Be careful as tone cannot be inferred from written word.

5. Acceptable Use Policy. Class time should be spent pursuing education. Follow your teacher’s and school’s rule for acceptable use in class.

4. Politeness and respect go a long way. When someone is talking to you, do NOT text or search the web OR when a teacher or peer is presenting in class, do NOT surf the web, text, or play games.

3. Ethical use and legal use. Give Credit for information and images that you use.

2. Be professional. When responding to peers, teachers, others use conventions of written English rather than slang terms, and texting acronyms. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and tone.

1. Learn. Use technology to learn, but always keep in mind the rules of Netiquette to learn in safe, collaborative environment.

Links for additional information.

Common Sense Media, Video page and Education page.

Digital Citizenship: Rights, Roles, and Responsibility in a Digital Society.

Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately webpage

Edutopia on Digital Citizenship

Partnership for 21st Century page on Digital Citizenship


Cooney, C. (2013). Netiquette for the high school student. Retrieved from:

Roblyer, M.D. (2015). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed). New York : Pearson.


One response to “ET541 Week 5 Safety on the Internet

  1. Courtney LaRue

    Great layout for your blog post! I liked that you outlined each safety hazard and described it. I agree that school filters are not fool proof. We had an incident this year with a student using Google Voice to search for Native American tools. Because the student had a thick accent, Google picked up a different translation and took the group of students to pornographic images. Luckily the students’ teacher had taught them a month long lesson about digital citizenship and the students shut the laptop immediately and told the teacher what had happened. The students were obviously distraught and parents were notified on what had happened. The filter was not as strong as we had all imagined unfortunately. I think it’s a great lesson to teach students that things may happen, but taking care of the issue right away and being honest is the best way to deal with it.

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