Ensuring student online safety is important to every teacher: we’ve put together 5 useful tips for making sure your class is safe onine!
Did you know that 44% of 8-11 year-olds and 87% of 12-15 year-olds use social media platforms? Nearly half of children in the UK set their social media profiles to public, and 43% claim that their parents don’t set the rules for social networking.
In 2020, nearly all children aged 5-15 went online. Most young people access the internet multiple times a day from various devices in school, at home, and on the go. Educating students on the importance of digital safety and digital citizenship is as vital as ever.
With this in mind, what exactly should teachers do to keep their students safe in a complex and ever-evolving digital world? Here are five actionable tips to champion online safety in 2022.
- Promote honest and open communication.
A simple way to keep your pupils safe online is to facilitate communication between students, teachers, and parents in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Encourage your students to talk about their experiences online and their internet behaviors.
Organize sessions between parents and students. Discuss actionable tips that parents can take to protect their children when using the internet at home and make parents aware of online issues.
Create a safe space for students to report cyberbullying and other concerning online behavior. When students feel safe talking about their online experiences, they’ll be less likely to keep problems to themselves or try to deal with issues alone.
- Champion online privacy.
Place digital privacy at the heart of everything you do. Teach your students basic privacy standards and integrate these lessons into all of your online class activities.
The digital world is constantly evolving. Regularly updating and revisiting these lessons is crucial. Adopt healthy internet habits which you can transfer to your students.
Here are a few simple changes you can make to protect yourself and your data online:
- Secure your accounts. Enable two-factor authentication on your professional and personal accounts and encourage your students to do the same.
- Guard your web browsing. Be aware of how much of your data your web browser is collecting. Consider changing your default browser to a secure one that optimizes privacy, such as Brave or Firefox.
- Install antivirus software on your computer. Although we refer to this software as ‘antivirus,’ fending off actual computer viruses is just one small part of what they do. This software will also protect against ransomware encrypts, trojan horse programs, and bot attacks.
- Update your software and devices regularly. This will ensure that your devices benefit from the latest security updates, bug fixes, and performance improvements. Updates also make your devices less vulnerable to cyber attacks.
- Don’t install questionable software. Be wary of downloading free software from dubious websites and avoid download programs and installers. Ensure your antivirus software scans any downloads before opening them.
- Lockdown your phone in case you lose it. You can take this preventative measure before the device is lost or stolen. Teach your students digital responsibility and encourage them to secure their phones before anything terrible happens – they’ll thank you for it in the future!
- Enable encryption on your devices. This functionality is now built into most devices, so there’s no excuse not to protect your privacy in this manner. Check your settings and confirm that your data is encrypted with these simple steps.
- Encourage class discussion.
Classwide discussions and collaboration allow your students to process information with their peers rather than receive it one way from a teacher.
Class debates increase student interest and engagement. It makes you aware of issues your pupils are currently facing, and it keeps you up to date with trends and platforms they are using. It will make students feel connected and realize they are not alone in facing issues online such as cyberbullying or exposure to unwanted images, oversharing, etc.
Listen to what your students have to say about sharing on social media and their decisions when deciding whether to post content online. What have their encounters been like online, both positive and negative? Your students will have different experiences with the internet and social media, which can be a valuable opportunity to learn more about their digital world.
- Access the right resources.
Ensure your lessons regarding online safety are engaging. An hour-long lecture on cyber safety with printed worksheets will likely result in eye rolls from your digitally savvy pupils. Make lessons interactive (and fun!) where you can.
There are countless digital tools to engage your students when delivering online safety lessons. Classrooms on Wakelet creates secure student accounts, allowing you to make a safe digital space where students can curate content and collaborate in class discussions.
We’ve created this Wakelet collection full of useful resources to get your started on your online safety journey.
- Stay up to date with digital innovations.
Digital transformation in the classroom is an ongoing and ever-evolving process. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for technological change in schools worldwide. Digital innovations of the past two years will amplify the learning experience and bring new challenges for teachers in safeguarding their students online.
Students are often more digitally skilled than their teachers. Improve your knowledge of digital technologies and emerging social media platforms by enrolling in free online courses and joining professional learning communities. Keeping a handle on evolving tech trends is fundamental to ensuring your students remain safe online.
Create a safe corner of the internet with Wakelet.
Keeping students safe online can be a daunting task for many educators. Digital safety is something we all must take responsibility for, and students, teachers, and parents all have their roles to play. The five actions listed in this article provide a basic framework for getting started on your journey and will enable you to educate and empower your pupils as they navigate the evolving online landscape.
Wakelet provides a free, safe, and unlimited space for your students to collaborate and share learning resources. Save, organize, and present multimedia content with your students, teachers, and learning communities with secure student accounts.We know privacy and safety is the top priority for educators, which is why Wakelet is fully compliant with GDPR, COPPA, FERPA, NY Edlaw2D, and CSPC. Sign up for free and create a safe digital space for your class today!