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Guide for teachers: how to keep your students safe online

Sponsored: The omnipresent internet has brought us new categories of hazards

Posted by Joe Lawson-West | February 15, 2018 | E-safety

The education in the modern era is heavily based on the technologies. Teachers and students alike are using all kinds of gadgets and electronic databases. College software makes the educator-student connection much simpler and faster than it ever was. Furthermore, the studying communities bring the collaboration opportunities that are hard to overpraise.At the same time, the omnipresent internet brought us new categories of hazards. Cyberbullies, sexual predators, scammers, personality thieves are lurking in the dark web.

If the idea of keeping your students safe online while still letting them benefit from the enormous e-learning opportunities is appealing to you, read further. First, we’ll educate you more about the online dangers, then we’ll explain how you can prevent unfortunate encounters for your students.

What you should be aware of? 

Cyberbullying 

2016 study from the Cyberbullying Research Center shows that 34% of teenagers experienced cyberbullying, and 25% of teenagers claim they’re being repeatedly bullied via their mobiles and internet.  Sharing private photos and information on social media - even in conversations with friends - can lead to cyberbullying. One of its ugly forms is creating whole web-pages deliberately directed on the harassing, making fun of or shaming another person. 

Mean comments and intimidation are often focused on the objects gender, sexual orientation, race or physical difference. They can be classified as the discrimination and be against the law in many states. This means police can get involved, and the culprits behind the bullying may face serious charges. Encourage your students to report the cases of cyberbullying that they encounter or witness. As they point you to cases, make screenshots to have the evidence at hand. 

TIP: When giving out assignments, make sure any app or software you’re recommending is compatible with all generations of gadgets. Some of your students might have older models, and in case of the materials incompatibility, you risk to leave them out of the educational process and put them into a vulnerable position for bullying. 

Cheating

The academic service providers a.k.a. “Essay writers” became a torrent so noticeable there are government initiatives as well as NGOs established to confront it. Students get easily attracted to their sites, as they believe that “there are skillful writers and even educators on the other side,” see Is this a joke, professors willing to write my essay? 

Blocking the malicious websites on the school network is the first step to save your students from the temptation. While you as a teacher can use plagiarism checkers and Turnitin to scan the submitted works, adopting the Academic Integrity philosophy in your school or college is the proper way of shifting learner’s minds in the legitimate direction. 

Scammers 

Students often use portals that are particularly high-risk for the scamming. Online dating sites, classified advertisement boards, cryptocurrencies forums are the usual places where credit card or personal accounts hacking happens. 

Increase the awareness of the scam techniques and update your class about hot scam cases. Teach them not to send any personal information through any conversations. Note that sometimes staying safe is as easy as not clicking on any pop-ups and flash windows that appear on the screen. 

TIP: Be alert every time the conversation wasn’t initiated by you. Your friend’s profiles can be hacked and used for scamming. If you feel the conversation is quirky, or get any unexpected links, the chances are high it’s a fraud. 

Privacy 

From the youngest age of the device usage in school, the students should be taught about the impermissibility of the illegal downloads. The pirate movies, music, games, and content, aside from being outlawed, can result in infecting the school network - or any public network - with the harmful software. 

Teach your students about the anti-piracy laws in your state. Bring to attention anti-piracy cases of this Boston student or this Minnesota lady, to give them the feeling that it’s a real crime with the real consequences. Make sure the students understand well all the situations when downloading is illegal, as sometimes kids think it’s ok to “share a song with a friend” or “get the new textbook”. 

Inappropriate online material 

Make sure you and your students are on the same page about what is allowed and what is not acceptable, put it loud and clear. Teach your students that if they accidentally browse into something inappropriate, they should remain calm, close the window, close the laptop and tell the teacher. 

Be prepared to handle the uneasy subject in a calm manner. Do not overreact. Explain it’s sad that this type of content is out there - and then move on. 

Predators

This topic is usually kept to the parents and families. However, the children and teens often find it hard to confide to a parent. They might be more comfortable seeking assistance from a teacher. 

First of all, educate your students about online predators - where they roam, what are they looking for, how they might approach. By keeping your students aware, you teach them critical thinking about the mushy, understanding online 'friends' they can encounter online. Remind them not to answer the messages from strangers - by far if they ask for personal details or are of sexual nature. 

TIP: You might consider following your students on social media. The very fact would be a good wake-up call for your students not to share everything and anything online. 

Basic Tips For Staying Safe Online:

  • Have everything under a password and change them often
  • Think twice before sharing your personal information, photos or videos
  • Block and report the bullying
  • Don’t respond to inappropriate or fishy requests
  • Learn about copyrights, piracy, and responsibility
  • Get the filters and parental controls up and running 

Conclusion

A great rise in quality and quantity of scientific discoveries marks our time - we owe it to the ease of knowledge sharing that world embraced in recent decades. While this time is like no other for humanity, it brings new challenges, too. With simple guidelines from this article, you will know how to keep your students on the safe side while letting them embrace the enormous possibilities of information era.

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