This time of year, kids get warnings about the dangers of too much sun, diving into shallow water, or playing with illegal fireworks. But what about the wild, wild Web — the place where 21st century kids spend most of their time? This summer, arm students with commandments from the tech room to help them with internet safety best practices.
Do your kids remember any of those digital citizenship guidelines you started at the beginning of the year? Do you trust them to wander the Web freely? It’s time for a review! Use the commandments below to initiate conversation. Print the commandments and have students glue them on card stock for families to take home for reference all summer.
I. You are on your favorite new Web site; you just won an iPad! The site prompts you to fill out a form listing private information. What should you do before you write, send, or upload anything?
Ask thy legal guardians! Thou shalt not give anyone private information on the Web without parental permission. Thy full name, thy mother’s maiden name, thy phone number, thy social security number, thy home address, thy e-mail address, thy parents’ credit card, and thy passwords are sacred stuff! Keep advertisers, identity thieves, and dangerous strangers away.
II. You are chatting away in Club Penguin, and your new cyberspace friend writes, "LOL! I gotta call u! What's your #? :)" How do you respond?
Again, internet safety 101: Thou shalt not give anyone private information on the Web without parental permission.
III. You are still on Club Penguin. Someone sends a text that makes you feel uncomfortable, or someone you are chatting with starts cyberbullying. What do you do?
Thou shalt report inappropriate behavior to the site moderator! Thou shalt tell thy parents.
IV. Two older girls start fighting at the playground. Hair and blood start to fly. Kids scramble for cell phones to record the action and post it on YouTube. How do you respond?
Thou shalt not become a part of the problem; thou shalt be the solution. Walk away and quietly grab an adult or use your cell to call for help.
V. Your local library is offering a Wii to the best neighborhood poet. You happened to find the best Pokemon poem on the Web last night. Do you cut and paste the poem into a Word document?
No. Thou shalt not steal. Plagiarism is a crime!
VI. Your new WeeWorld friend asks to meet you at your parents' home when they aren't around. How do you respond?
Thou shalt not meet anyone thou has met online without adult permission and supervision. This is one of the most important Internet safety rules!
VII. Your older brother and his friends take pictures of themselves vandalizing a friend's bike. They post the "hilarious" pictures on their Facebook pages. Uh-oh, isn't that you innocently standing in the background of that picture? How do you respond?
"Don't tag me, bro!" Thou shalt inform others that thou prefers to control thy digital image. Colleges, employers, lots of people will search the Web for your digital footprint sooner or later.
VIII. Your friend's WeeWorld avatar said something in the chat room that might be considered insensitive. How do you respond?
Slooooowly, the Internet is forever! And part of internet safety cautions, Thou does not want to post something thou will regret later.
IX. Your skin looks jaundiced. You've been on the couch for almost a week. What should you do?
Thou shalt go outside once in a while! Turn off the computer, put down the smartphone, and climb a tree or ride thy bike in the sunshine!
X. Have a happy and safe summer!