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‘Digital Citizen’, ‘Internet Safety’… These are big terms and to the average student, they don’t always mean much.  As online students, we need to be cognizant of our digital footprint, and our online safety.

  “I am not doing anything that is unsafe, what is the big deal?”

Let us start with a little example of how fast things can get out of hand online. Say you find the next book in the book series that your best friend loves. You want to get it for them as a birthday present but you need to make sure that their family is not getting them the same thing. So you take a picture and you send it along with the question to their sibling on Facebook. Oops, you accidentally sent it to a wall instead of a private message. Now, not only does your best friend know, everyone else does too! In the overall scheme of things, this may not be a big deal, but it was very easy and very fast for the information to go to the wrong place.

What about when information gets shared and it is not something that you intended, or knew that you did? When it is out of your control, and when you may not even know the information has been seen or used? There are things that everyone who goes online should learn about being a Good ‘Digital Citizen’ and ‘Internet Safety’.

Here are some tools to learn Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety Basics to help get you started:

Video: Safety Basics for Online Photo Sharing – How sharing photos works and how much information is being sent that you may not think or know about.

Disclaimer: The ‘Safety Basics for Online Photo Sharing’ video is free; however, this site is a paid service. This site has many videos that are very good at teaching Digital Citizenship as well as other topics and they are worth watching. You can get the intro to any of their videos for free but to watch many of the full videos you need to buy their paid services.

Media Smarts: Digital & Media Literacy – This section explores many aspects of digital and media literacy: from the basics, to how youth engage with different media, to issues they may encounter.  The essays and educational games featured here help you become ‘media smart’.

TED Talks: Who/What controls your Internet? Beware of  ‘Filter Bubbles’ – Did you know that the Internet is being tailored to your personal use? Even if you and a group of friends searched the same thing at the same time on your personal devices, you may not see the same results. It is showing you only what it thinks you want to see based on what you have clicked on, liked, looked at, etc. The internet keeps track of all that you are doing, more than you know.

Passport to the Internet: Game  – Passport to the Internet is a fun, interactive site (geared to Gr. 4-8, though the information is good for everyone to know) which gives students the opportunity to be involved with online ‘sites’ and then PTTI evaluates what they’ve done and gives them good ideas and feedback on how safe their actions are. This is a safe way to learn and experiment with real-time evaluations without risk.

PTTI Login Credentials: You will need a Username and Password to use this subscription. If you are interested you can find subscription login information at  the Search Portal under “Subscriptions” OR on your Encom parent home page under “Curriculum Resources” (scroll down to “Require a Shared Login”).

Ignition Game/Course: Digital Literacy & Responsibility – Ignition – Digital Literacy & Responsibility educates students on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how technology works, while placing them in virtual environments to tackle issues surrounding digital citizenship. The course will cover: Digital Footprint, Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, Conducting Online Research, Digital Time Management and STEM Careers. It is free to HCOS students, and will usually take between 3-4 hours to complete.

Please email Beth Johnson for the class code to allow you to take the Ignition course.

HCS Learning Commons Kits

Internet Safety Kit: K-Gr. 9 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 Our students are encouraged to become wise, digital learners who can search online within boundaries, ensuring Internet safety and healthy learning. With this in mind, this kit gives some useful rules for providing Godly education for your new online learner.

Research Skills Kit: K-Gr. 5 – Primary students need to understand the basics of research in grades K-5.

Research Skills Kit: Gr. 6-Gr. 9 – Middle-grade students.

Digital Citizenship Primary Kits: K-Gr. 3 & Gr. 4-Gr. 6

The Internet is a wonderful place to discover, share, learn, and grow. I hope that you enjoy your online journey and adventures in safe ways.

God Bless