Helping K-12 students be safe, smart and responsible users of online technology is important to their well-being. We want to provide parents and guardians with resources and information. We hope this information will help you guide your students in developing safe, smart and responsible internet use habits.
Respect Yourself: I will show respect for myself through my actions. I will select online names that are appropriate. I will consider the information and images I post online. I will not post personal information about my life, experiences, experimentation, or relationships. I will not be obscene.
Protect Yourself: I will ensure that the information I post online will not put me at risk. I will not publish my personal details, contact details or a schedule of my activities. I will report any attacks or inappropriate behavior directed at me. I will protect passwords, accounts, and resources.
Respect Others: I will show respect to others. I will not use electronic mediums to flame, bully, harass, or stalk other people. I will show respect for other people in my choice of websites. I will not visit sites that are degrading, pornographic, racist, or inappropriate. I will not abuse my rights of access and I will not enter other people's private spaces or areas.
Protect Others: I will protect others by reporting abuse, not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications and not visiting sites that are degrading, pornographic, racist, or inappropriate.
Respect Intellectual Property: I will request permission to use resources and suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media, etc. I will use and abide by the fair use rules.
Protect Intellectual Property: I will request to use the software and media others produce. I will use free and open source alternatives rather than pirating software. I will purchase, license, and register all software. I will purchase my music and other media and refrain from distributing these in a manner that violates their licenses.
We encourage you to follow these 10 basic guidelines to help keep your children safe on the Internet.
- Keep all Internet access in a public place, including cellphones. Do not allow students to charge devices in their bedrooms.
- Make, sign, review and display an Internet Use Contract with your children to ensure that they understand the rules.
- Talk to your children regularly about where they are going online. Have them show you. Don't be afraid to learn from them. Remember, you are the expert in making good decisions.
- Remember: We all learn through practice. Taking away computer privileges for long periods of time can encourage students to use the Internet when you're not watching and not tell you when something is wrong. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your children.
- Know your child's usernames and passwords. Make it clear that online social networks are not private. You need to know who their friends are and make sure they are building healthy relationships.
- Model responsible use and regularly review the rules with your student.
- Talk to your student about privacy and permanence. Google their name with them regularly and talk about their digital footprint.
- Recommend positive ways to create a better digital footprint.
- Talk to your student about being a good online citizen. Remember: What is good offline is good online.
- Read Dr. Smock's article "Why I'm putting down the iPhone".
Following are links to slide presentations we have developed and used when speaking to parent groups about responsible use of the Internet.
- Set Clear Expectations
- Create Healthy Screen Habits
- Be Smart About What You Share
- Monitor Your Student's Online Activity
- Monitor Your Student's Gaming Habits
- Understand Your Student's Social Networks
- Be Prepared for Cyberbullying
- Free or Low Cost Internet Service
Talk to your children regularly about Internet use and access. Clearly explain your expectations for of them for appropriate use and behavior. The following resources may help.
Learning how to manage multiple sources of information and potential distractions is a critical life skill, one best learned before heading off to college or the workplace. Help your student follow these general rules.
- Balance sedentary screen time with physical activity.
- Break up screen time into small increments.
- Use technology creatively, not passively. Example: making a video vs. watching a cartoon
It is important for students to understand that information that is on the Internet never really goes away. These resources can help you demonstrate that fact and teach your children how to protect their privacy online.
- Common Sense Media: Online Privacy: What it is and How to Get It
- Google Alerts - If you set up a Google Alert for members of your family, you will receive emails with information that appears about you online.
- How Stuff Works: Top Ten Things You Should Not Share On Social Networks
- The WayBack Machine - See what the web looked like at any time since it began. Deleting content from the web doesn't really make it go away.
There are several tools to help you monitor your student's activity online, help you set age-appropriate rules and promote conversations about safe online behaviors.
Software for Purchase
Apps for Purchase
Twenty-seven percent of 12- to 17-year olds choose to game with people they first meet online. Be sure to monitor your student's gaming habits. Here are 10 handy tips from NetSmartz Kidz.
- View game ratings and prescreen games online before purchasing.
- Check to be sure the console comes with parental control features.
- Set parental controls before children start playing. (Consult the user guide.)
- Set up consoles in a common area for easy supervision.
- Decide if you want to use the console’s Internet capabilities.
- Set gaming rules with your children, such as how long and with whom they can play.
- Choose gender-neutral, appropriate screen names.
- Decide if you want to allow voice chat. If you do, use voice masking features.
- Teach your children not to reveal personal information through voice chat.
- Encourage your children not to respond to cyberbullies and to block unwanted contact.
The National Council on Cyberbullying provides the following recommendations.
- Keep your password safe! You can tell your parents about it, but not anyone else — not even your best friend!
- Don’t share secrets, photos, or anything online that might be embarrassing if someone found out (like your entire school!).
- Set up email and instant messenger accounts with your parents. Make sure not to put your name, age, address, or phone number in your profile or screen name.
- Don't send messages when you're angry. Wait until you cool off so you don't say something you'll regret. Remember Scruff’s steps for getting along.
- Let bullies know that cyberbullying is not ok. If your friends are cyberbullying, tell them that it’s not funny and that cyberbullying hurts people.
- Be as nice online as you are offline.
If a cyberbully is bothering you:
- Don't respond to emails or messages that are mean to you or your friends.
- Don’t forward emails or messages that are mean or that spread rumors about other people.
- Don't open emails or messages from someone you know is a bully.
- Block anyone who acts like a cyberbully.
- Save or print all messages from bullies.
- Show the messages to an adult you trust—like a parent or a teacher—and ask for help. If the first adult you tell doesn't help you, keep telling until someone does.