From completing schoolwork online to spending time on YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Discord, Instagram, Doublicat/Reface, not to mention new apps this uncool grown up hasn’t even heard of yet, children, tweens, and teens are online a lot these days. Educators and caregivers do their best to enlist the use of safety settings and monitor kids’ online activity at school and home, but we all know these strategies aren’t foolproof solutions. In addition, we need to equip students with skills to think critically and carefully about the choices they make online. Safer Internet Day on February 8th is an important reminder of practices to incorporate all year!
Safer Internet Day’s mission is to “not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.” This awareness-raising campaign began in 2004 and will be celebrated by more than 200 countries around the world on February 8, 2022. Hosted by ConnectSafely in the U.S., Safer Internet Day is a great chance to highlight digital citizenship and media literacy with students and caregivers. We’ve curated our Top 10 favorite resources on the topics below, including lesson plans for teachers and helpful tools to share with families.
5 Excellent Resources for Educators to Teach Safer Internet Skills
- Thoughtful Literacy created 10 Lessons for Teaching Media Literacy focused on critically analyzing points of view and asking key questions of media sources.
- Learning for Justice’s excellent series of lessons on digital and civic literacy includes topics such as evaluating sources, understanding online search practices, and participating responsibly in digital spaces.
- Help students spot a fake news story with this lesson on lateral reading from MiddleWeb.
- ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), a key resource for high-quality tech content, shared 9 Lessons to Boost Media Literacy.
- Finally, explore this collection of resources for educators created specifically for Safer Internet Day, including lessons on wellbeing, stopping bias and hate speech, preventing cyberbullying, the metaverse, and more!
*Bonus! Explore the hashtags #SID2022 and #saferinternetday to find additional inspiration!
5 Top Sites for Caregivers to Promote Safer Internet Use at Home
- Parentology, an online guide for parenting in the digital age, shares the “Most Popular Apps for Teenagers in 2021 and 2022.” Stay up to speed with the latest apps and their potential pitfalls and understand how to use parental controls.
- CyberWise’s tagline is “No grownup left behind!” Their Learning Hubs teach adults all about the latest apps. They also offer a free digital citizenship course for families.
- Common Sense Media is a fantastic resource to help caregivers navigate all types of media use with kids. Check out the section on Privacy and Internet Safety for a wealth of information on topics from making YouTube safer for kids to setting parental controls on a child’s phone. The “Parents Need to Know” and “Apps and Games” sections are also full of valuable guidance.
- The National PTA is celebrating Safer Internet Week, with excellent videos from tech leaders on how to help families keep kids “safe, kind, and inclusive online.” Share with your school’s PTA and they might be inspired to organize info sessions for families about online safety.
- Finally, explore the Program for Parents and the Community created for Safer Internet Day, including lessons on wellbeing, parenting GenZ, preventing cyberbullying, screen time, and more!
While Safer Internet Day is important, educators know that to truly support students in making smart choices online, digital citizenship and media literacy need to be woven into conversations and activities year-round, both at home and at school. Common Sense Media’s article, “3 Ways to Make Digital Citizenship Part of Your Everyday Teaching,” provides helpful suggestions.
For more information on digital citizenship and safe technology use from Learners Edge, please check out the following courses: