Blogging Lesson Plan- Online Safety

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There is a BIG online world out there! You get to be part of it via the computer, a cell phone, AIM, an Xbox, Wii, or on Social networking places like Webkinz, Build-a-Bearville or Club Penguin. When you are older , places such as MySpace and Facebook will become part of your online network. The online world gives us an incredible opportunity to search for information, entertain us, communicate with others, connect with people from other countries and cultures.Where ever you are or however you choose to connect to these places, you always have to play smart and keep yourself and your friends SAFE.

Here are a few guidelines that you need to keep in mind. If ever in doubt, ALWAYS ask your parent, teacher or other trusted adult how you should handle the situation.

  • Never publish online the following information:
    • Address
    • Last Name
    • Password
    • Phone Number
    • E-mail address
    • Detailed physical description
    • Detailed location where you can be found on a given day and time
    • Photos of yourself
  • Never share your user name or password with anyone besides your teachers and parents. Never log in as someone else.
  • Think before you post: Make sure what you write is appropriate to put online.
  • Always tell the truth on your posts and comments.
  • Be cautious about email messages from anyone, asking you for detailed personal information or attempting to arrange secret meetings. Talk with your teacher and parents immediately if this kind of situation arises.
  • Online work is NOT private. Never say anything via email, chat, blogs, or on wikis that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the school bulletin board, or in the local newspaper. Make sure you can be proud of your online work and it would not embarrass you if your grandmother or teachers read it.
  • Capital letters are regarded as “SHOUTING.” Don’t be offensive, and don’t ever use bad language.
  • Never use a computer to harm other people. Never snoop around in other people’s files. Never use a computer to steal.

These “Rules of Netiquette” were adapted from Grade 3 Blog Pals who in turn adapted from the following publication: John, El Paso, TX Internet Driver’s License: Internet Guide and Workbook,Classroom Connect: Lancaster, 1997.

Online Identity:

  • What do you want others to know about you? What belongs online? What does not?
  • Are you proud of ALL your online content (work, writing, comments, images, video, audio)?
  • Would your grandmother, your principle, your teacher be embarrassed reading or seeing your content?
  • Should you create a separate online identity? Avatars? Nicknames?
  • What is the difference between protecting your identity and what is lying and being untruthful about information?

Video clip: Everyone knows your name

Think before you post

Once you submit content, even if you choose to delete it later, it is online FOREVER. Can you be proud of EVERYTHING you post, upload or contribute online?

The Canadian site Media Awareness Network  on its Introduction to Cyber Bullying has developed  a quick “Think Before You Click” Self-Test that looks great to teach to our elementary school students.

To teach students to quickly decide whether something they are about to do online is a good or a bad idea, ask each student to:
Think of two people:

  • someone famous he or she admires for his or her courage, and
  • an adult in her or his life who is trusted and respected.

Have students record these two names in a specific place in their agenda. Explain that as of today, these two people will be their “virtual conscience.” Every time they intend to do something online which they’re not sure is right, they will ask themselves: “What would these people think about this?”

Video clip: Think before you post

Online Bullying:

  • Talk about and recognize three roles played in bullying:
    • Victim
    • Bully
    • Bystander
  • Awareness of how cyber bullying can affect someone
    • Remind students that behind each online avatar or identity is a real person with feelings.
  • Discuss with your students how to recognize and prevent cyber bullying.
  • Teach them what to do, if they encounter cyber bullying (from Introduction to Cyber Bullying )
    • STOP – immediately leave the online environment or activity where bullying is going on.
    • BLOCK e-mails or instant messages received from bullies. NEVER RESPOND.
    • RECORD all harassing messages and send them to your Internet provider (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.). Most providers have policies about users harassing people on their server.
    • TALK to a trusted adult about the cyber bullying; alert the police when bullying involves physical threats.

Video clip: Talent Show

Further Activities:

  • Students decide on their online identity nickname
  • Have students draw, illustrate, create, or take a picture of their chosen avatar
  • Create a Wordle of keywords your students come up with what online blogging safety means to them.
  • Have students create their own “Public Service Announcement” to bring awareness to cyber bullying and its prevention.