Internet Safety Guidelines–Tips for Students
The internet has become fast become THE place to gather and share information. Long gone are the days of searching for a book in the library to research a topic…or picking up a phone to get caught up with a friend. While it is very convenient, the internet introduces a whole slew of risks as well. This guide will provide some basic tips for students when browsing the internet with a little help from http://www.commonsensemedia.org.
Tip 1: Recognize that any information you share online is NOT private.
First of all, recognize that college admission counselors, potential employers, your parents, etc. can see posted or forwarded information. If you don’t want that group of people to see the things that you have done, then don’t post about it. Many, many people have been burned by this idea that their information is private. Your thought process before you hit submit should include “Do I really want my mother or potential employer to see this?”.
Secondly, the internet has allowed pedophiles to become more prevalent (or at least have access to more children). Predators tend to create fake profiles to lure children. How do predators select their children? A list of some general criteria is here. They tend to pick children via instant messaging, who are online quite a bit and who post personal profiles.
Thirdly, do not post any personal information about yourself such as your phone number and address. If you post photos online, be sure that you are ok with everyone seeing them.
Tip 2: The Golden Rule still applies when online.
Treat others as you would want to be treated. This mantra tends to go by the wayside when people become anonymous posters. Recognize that the people on the other side of the computer are still human beings with real feelings. Do NOT say or post anything online that you would not say to that person face-to-face.
Tip 3: Online cheating is still cheating.
Plagiarizing from a website is the same as copying passages from a book. In this day and age there are many software packages out there that will allow a teacher to compare your paper to the internet to see if any of the text is virtually the same.
Tip 4: Be aware of scams and potential viruses.
There are many illegitimate websites out there whose main function is to download a virus to obtain your information. First of all, make sure you have proper anti-virus and anti-malware software. Secondly, do not download anything from sites that aren’t reputable. If you are not sure, ask your teacher or your parents.
The key to being a good digital citizen is to USE YOUR HEAD! Think before you post and before you start browsing in unchartered territory. If you are ever unsure of whether you should, you likely SHOULDN’T!