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Recently, I spoke with a technology coordinator who had just completed a month-long Internet Safety unit for fifth graders. Here is what she had to say about her students and the lessons learned. “I think the most interesting thing is how stunned I was with how much our students are already experiencing the Internet, e-mail, chat rooms, etc. Not all of the students, but at least half of them by fifth grade have experienced all of those things, and two-thirds of them have experienced some of them. They also demonstrated a very healthy level of fear and I could tell that at this age they were all ears. That was another reason that I felt totally encouraged about adding it to our curriculum, because I know in a couple of years many of them will think they "know it all" and won't be so attentive.”

Keeping Safe in Cyberspace

The Internet has changed the way students learn and communicate. With the click of a mouse they can instantly message one another, work together on projects, download all kinds of multimedia files, and post to blogs, Websites, and RSS feeds. Access to people and information enhances instruction, but what happens when the "dark side of the Internet" sneaks around the corner and into the classroom or home? You have seen the stories on television about chat rooms, read about incidents in the newspaper where kids have been lured to meet strangers, and read the research in magazines about social networking and cyber bullying (See the articles from Multimedia and Internet @Schools magazine, Social Networking: A New Tech Tool and a New Security Concern for Teens and Schools May/June 2006 and Social Networking, Part 2: A Toolkit for Teachers July/August 2006). Keeping kids safe must be an ongoing effort through awareness, education and supervision. Consider implementing an Internet Safety program in your school or community.

The top three safety solutions in 'Keeping Kids Safe in the World of Technology' are Education, Supervision, and Software." (Uhrenholt, Linda. (1998). Keeping Kids Safe!)

Content Rating Sites

Many sites appear to be good on the surface until you hit a link that goes somewhere you don't want your students to visit. Organizations like the Internet Content Rating Association and SafeSurf have developed rating systems as a means to keep the Internet safe for kids and parents. However, very few sites are using these rating systems.

Internet Content Rating Association

ICRA, a non-profit organization, allows content providers to add a free rating label to their Website by filling out a questionnaire based on the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS). For an additional fee, the site is checked and added to a database as an ICRA trusted site. Parents can use the free ICRAplus (Windows only) with other filtering software to screen sites based on this rating system.


SafeSurf founded the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) that allows parents to set passwords and levels for their children. The SafeSurf Rating Standard gives content providers the ability to rate their Website and place Metadata into their pages. PICS compliant software then reads these settings to filter content.

U.S. Map of Filtering Laws

Find information that includes a state-by-state interactive map of the US internet filtering laws, that will allow parents to easily view if their child is protected on publicly funded schools and libraries in their state. They also include advice for how one can further protect their child once they are at home such as enabling their ISP parental control features, and blocking websites and keywords:


Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Bullying in the U.S. - Rates, Tips and Resources

The page has some great information on Bullying in the U.S with links to other resources. It is also easy for students to read and comprehand.

Kid's Health Cyberbullying Guide

In this guide for parents, advice is offered on how to see the signs of cyberbullying and suggestions are provided on how to intervene, Other topics covered include teaching kids how to be smart about social media and Internet safety.

Stop CyberBullying

Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.Include is infor,tion for parents and schools. This is a publication of the U.S. Government.

Saftey Rules

Other organizations like the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have created Web sites for kids and their parents. These sites include safety tips for kids about what information they should not provide to strangers and suggestions for parents when talking with their child.

Have you seen the Common Sense Media television ads with the catchy jingle "Pause and Think Online"? It is certainly worth a look. Their motto is "We rate, educate, and advocate for kids, families, and schools." Among the many offerings, the one thing that caught our eye was the Digital Citizenship curriculum. It is available free for the Mac and iPad as iBook texts that are extremely captivating and interactive. Don't have an Apple device? Then download the printable version and view the videos on the web. From Cyberbullying to responsible behavior using social media, this site is perfect for technology teachers. 

Apps Parents Should Be On the Lookout For

As our children find new apps and social media platforms, our job to keep them safe becomes even harder.

To help us on this journey, we have compiled apps parents should be aware of that should be on our radar.

- Amy WiIlliams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

CyberNetiquette Comix

Based on classic Disney charaters, children learn valuable lessons about online saftey. Fun for the whole family.


Comprehensive curriculum designed for teachers and parents is presented in an easy to use format. Lessons and activities are designated by topic and grade level. Content covers appropriate use of the Internet, property rights, ethics, and Website evaluation. A professional development component provides educators with the opportunity to participate in the Pathways to Literacy course ($349) and interact with nationally known experts on the subject. CyberSmart also has a computer desktop toolbar in the works that will provide continuous access to research tools. This site is a great starting point for teachers who want to construct a unit on Internet Safety.

FBI: Parents Guide to Internet Safety

The Parents Guide to Internet Safety is a handbook published by the FBI. Included in the publication are signs to look for that might indicate a child is at risk on the Internet and what to do to minimize this risk.


GetNetWise is a public service brought to you by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help ensure that families have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be just "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their family's use of the Internet. GetNetWise is a project of the Internet Education Foundation. Features include a standard safety guide, parental tools, Websites for kids, and contact information for state police, national advocacy groups, and federal law enforcement authorities.


Watch the movie, Faux Paw the Techno Cat and take a byte out of Internet crime. View 5 tips in 5 Minutes - Protecting Your Kids Online with suggestions from educators, parents, kids and law enforcement. Learn about the Techno Cat program for schools or click on the D.A.R.E. button for Internet Safety activities. Symantec also provides a tutorial that illustrates how to check browser history and temporary files, how to avoid spyware, and measures to take for computer security.

Kidz Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission created a Website for parents and kids to disseminate information about government policies, privacy issues, and Internet Safety. Although the site has not been revised since 2003, there are many articles that remain current. They can be downloaded for viewing or printing.


NetSmartz is an educational resource for children, parents and teachers on how to stay safer on the Internet. The NetSmartz Workshop features age-appropriate, interactive games and activities that utilize the latest web technologies to entertain while they educate. View vignettes about real life experiences such as Cyberbullying, meeting strangers, and peer-to-peer harassment. Watch clips hosted by Clicky, Netty, and Webster who explain the dos and don’ts of the Internet. Then, play games that reinforce the lessons. Netsmartz is also rich with resources and links to other information that supports a safe journey on the Internet.

OnGuard Online

ID Theft Faceoff, Phishing Scams - Avoid the Bait, and Spam, Scam, Slam – Don’t Be Fooled are examples of interactive modules that inform the user about current Internet issues. Lots of practical tips will help you guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

Safe Kids Online

Visit Larry Magid's home page for articles about child safety on the Internet. Magid is a syndicated journalist and author of Child Safety on the Information Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway. Both are available on the Website and from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Other articles include Chat Room Safety, Cell Phone Safety, and Blog Safety.

SafetyEd International

SafetyEd International is a non-profit organization.On this website you will find a huge amount of original materials and resources aimed at helping you enjoy cyberspace safely.

Wired Safety

Wired Safety is an online safety and help group that includes over 9000 volunteers working in four areas. These areas include helping victims of cybercrime and harassment, assisting law enforcement on preventing and investigating cybercrime, and providing information about online safety, privacy and security. Protecting children on the Internet by providing educational material on awareness and prevention to parents, grandparents, caregivers, community groups, law enforcement, school resource officers, and students is their primary purpose. The site also offers information literacy activities and resources to keep children safe while using the Internet.

Safety Rules

These are direct links to Internet Safety rules that you can use in your classroom.

8 Tips for Protecting Children and Teens Online: A Security Guide for Parents, Caregivers and Educators

Written by Carey Davis who is an undergraduate student, digital media intern, and writer majoring in Communications at University of Albany.

FBI Safety Tips

Kids Rules for Online Safety


Childnet International
Download pdf files and print.


Originally Published Jan/Feb 2007

Updated March 14, 2017
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