How to Teach Students about Internet Privacy
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As parents and educators, it’s important that we ingrain internet privacy best practices in students from a very early age. When we help children understand and master common sense communication skills, it’s imperative that we also ensure that they understand that these skills need to be utilized online. When it comes to sayings like “treat others as you would like to be treated” and “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” make sure students understand that these “rules” apply online. Accidentally (or purposefully) disrespecting someone’s online privacy can lead to negative repercussions. So, how can we teach students to respect the privacy of others online?
We asked 3 experts to share their best tactics, tips, and talking points parents can use to help teach students about social media and internet privacy.
1. Create a healthy dialog around internet privacy
Elizabeth l. Jeglic Ph.D., John Jay College – City University of New York
Talk to your child about online privacy issues, making sure they know to never identify their name, school or city/state in which they live.
If they ever see or experience something that makes them uncomfortable they should tell/show you.
Do periodic browser history checks. If the computer uses internet explorer you can check their browser history to see what websites they have been frequenting. You want to be especially mindful to see if there are any inappropriate related sites or chat rooms or social media sites that you are unaware that they are frequenting. These sorts of checks should be done every 2 weeks or so.
Consider installing software or devices that can help you with monitoring and detecting inappropriate online activity.
Enlist your community. While teens may not always tell their parents what they are doing – they may tell their friends – who may, in turn, tell their parents. While we as parents don’t want to be engaging in covert espionage on our children if another parent hears from their child that their friend is doing something potentially dangerous on-line we need to share that information.
2. Pause and think before you post anything about someone else
Vasiliki Baskos, Learn Greek Online
Respect people’s privacy in general and transfer it to the online world. Never give out a friend’s email address, social media usernames etc. Do not attempt to hack social media accounts or read other people’s emails.
Before you post, tag, comment, “like” etc. anything about another person, think: Will this hurt their feelings or reputation? Do you have permission to post this? Will they be in trouble if their parents, spouse, college admissions officers, current or future employers see it?
Example: you post a picture of your friends and someone thinks they do not look good, or it reveals they are in a relationship with someone.
3. Teach students to avoid hiding behind the anonymity of social media
Justin Lavelle, Beenverified
Don’t do, say, or repeat anything that you wouldn’t say if the person was standing right in front of you. Common sense communication seems to have gone out the window with all of the texting, tweeting, messaging, and other means of communication available today. Make sure that if you ask, repeat, say, or share something that you would do it in person as well. Don’t hide behind the anonymity of a device. If you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, don’t say it! Also, remember when your mom or grandma would use the old adages ‘don’t judge until you walk in their shoes’ or ‘what if the shoe was on the other foot?’ Well, these apply perfectly to this scenario. What if it was you? What if it was your picture? Govern your action by treating others as you want to be treated… words to live by!
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