Keeping your students safe online
Monitoring students in a digital age is a challenging task. You may have 25+ devices in your classroom and every one of those devices has access to the internet. So how do we keep our students safe online?
Set up clear rules and expectations
Work as a class to set up expectations for technology use at the start of the year. This can be about how to walk around the room with their technology, safe storage and appropriate apps. Discuss how there is lots of inappropriate things on the internet and there will be consequences if they are searching for the wrong thing. Tell your kids to come to you straight away if something inappropriate comes up so you’ll know it was an accident and you can let the IT team at your school know. You can create a contract with your class, have them and their families sign it so you’re all on the same page.
Have a senior teacher/IT personnel come and talk about security and expectations
Sometimes having a senior teacher or IT employee come into the classroom to chat to your class can reiterate the importance of appropriate behaviour when using technology. They can explain that everything they do and look up while at school is regularly tracked and monitored.
Monitor the iPad content
Regularly check your students’ iPad content. Some places to check include their browser history for appropriate searches, what apps are downloaded and their photo album. When you check their photo album, make sure you look in the recently deleted folder too. I have found some doozies in there before! When you see an unfamiliar app, have a play around on it to check if it’s appropriate for school. Even innocent apps like Pic Collage need to have their web search feature disabled as the internet through the app is not filtered through your school’s network. Instead, have your students complete a web search, save the image and import it that way.
Get parents involved
Getting parents on board with your rules and expectations early on is important. That way, if any issues arise you can be in contact quickly to discuss inappropriate uses of technology. If your parents signed a contract at the start of the year they will be up to date with the school’s expectations of their child.
Discuss their digital footprint
Regularly discuss what it means to have a digital footprint with your kids. Explain that once something is put online, it will stay there forever. There are some fantastic videos on YouTube which you can show your class depending on their age. Just search ‘digital footprint for kids’ and several will come up.
Children don’t have the life experience to understand the effects of negative technology use, so it’s important to guide them in this digital age. We want our student to be safe, secure, kind and happy online, just like the offline world.