Media Literacy, Safety
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 virtual learning, 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:
- What do you do when you want to cross a busy road?
- What would you do if nobody was home when you got off the school bus?
- What would you do if somebody asked you to help find a puppy in the park?
- What other rules do you know that keep you safe?
Discuss with students how computers, tablets, cell phones and other digital devices are helpful for gathering information, for learning about the world, for doing online school, 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:
- Why do they think safety rules are important?
- How many have a computer, cell phone, or tablet in their home?
- Who is allowed to use these devices in their home?
- What do they use it for? (Taking pictures, playing games, online learning)
- If they play games on a digital device, what games do they play?
- Is there a password they have to enter before they can access the device? Is it their own password or their parents’?
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.
- Your older sister is texting a friend on her cellphone when a message pops up. It says, “You have won a new phone! Just meet me in the park at 2:30.” Should she go?
- Your friend has a new game for her tablet. The game company wants your friend to give them her name, phone number, age, and school. Should she do it?
- Your brother uses a password to open his cell phone every day. Is this a good thing? Who should he share this password with?
- Your sister has a friend that just got a new cell phone. She has been running all over the place taking funny pictures of people and then sending them to all her friends. Is this a good idea? Why?
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:
- Never give anybody you don’t know any personal information about you.
- Never share pictures of people or information about them without their consent.
- Tell an older brother or sister or parent if you see something on the Internet that worries you.
Note: An excellent online game resource for children this age is available through Media Smarts found here.