The Internet provides a huge window of opportunities, helping us to gather information, communicate, and take our students outside of the four walls of the classroom to experience what the world has to offer.
As with all technology, we want our students to use their devices safely, respectfully, and appropriately.
With over 120 countries taking part on February 11th, this year’s theme for Safer Internet Day will be: "Together for a better internet."
Celebrated since 2004, Safer Internet Day was created to inspire a national (now international) dialogue to promote positive use of digital technology and create a safer and better online community.
Note: Although some students this age may not be accessing the Internet on their own, they may be interacting with other forms of online technology, such as video calling with family members, viewing digital photos, and playing child-centred games. It is important to remind even very young children that safety rules apply to technology too.
Engage students in a conversation about safety. Ask questions such as:
Discuss with students how computers, tablets, cell phones and other digital devices are helpful for gathering information, for learning about the world, for talking and sharing with friends and family and even for playing games! Ask what safety rules they are aware of for making use of these devices. Ask:
Have students signal yes (It is ok) or no (It is not ok) to each of the following situations by giving a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Explore their reasons for each.
In closing, remind students that safety rules are common sense all the time, even when you use technology. They are just as important as looking both ways and watching for cars before crossing the road. Here are 3 important things to remember:
Note: An excellent online game resource for children this age is available through Media Smarts found here.
By this age, many students will be engaged in some way with online media. It is important to remind them that certain rules of use will help them to get the most out of their online communication and can also keep them safe.
Ask students about their media use. How many TV’S do they have at home? How many computers or tablets, cell phones, video gaming devices, etc., are in their household?
Ask students to share what they know about the safe use of digital media. Fill in any gaps in students’ knowledge to include:
Invite the students to make posters that remind others of these important rules. Post around the room.
For more information, check out the Media Smarts resources for this age group at http://mediasmarts.ca/tipsheet/internet-safety-tips-age-8-10.
Additional activities can be found on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s interactive website, “Zoey & Molly Online”. Aimed at students aged 8 to 10, this site helps them understand what it means to be safe while playing games online, as well as the risks associated with sharing their personal information and sending pictures online.
According to Media Smarts (the Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization for digital and media literacy), "almost a quarter of adults have shared a false news story and…we are least likely to fact-check news and other things that come to us through people we know and trust on social networks."
The Media Smarts website has created a helpful way to identify what is true in the online content we encounter, and what is not. See mediasmarts.ca/teacher-resources/break-fake-how-tell-whats-true-online
Watch "Break the Fake" on the Media Smarts website at: mediasmarts.ca, including "House Hippo 2.0"
Explain that there are effective ways to sift through all the information you receive.
Read together the Media Smarts resource "Four easy ways to fact check at: mediasmarts.ca/teacher-resources/break-fake-how-tell-whats-true-online
Invite students to go online and fact-check something by using the following tools suggested by the Media Smarts website:
Have students discuss in pairs how techniques such as those described above could affect the way they interpret and use online content. Ask volunteers to share their thoughts.
Embedded in the above tip sheet from Media Smarts are some videos that further reveal ways that “false news” can be generated. Depending on your perception of your students’ media habits, you may wish to view them as a class.