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Internet Safety Information for Students
From the Virginia Department of Education Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools
Internet is a powerful tool that should be used wisely.
- The Internet allows students access to a vast library of previously unavailable resources.
- The Internet enables students to communicate with people around the world.
- The Internet provides a creative outlet for students skilled in writing, art, music, science, mathematics, and other topics.
- Students need to know that not all Internet information is valid or appropriate.
- Sexually explicit material or violent images can affect students negatively.
- Sexual predators will try to convince students to trust them.
- Internet information may promote negative attitudes, such as hate or intolerance, and dangerous or illegal activities, such as self-injuring behavior, gambling, and illegal drug use.
Students should be taught specifically how to maximize the Internet’s potential while protecting themselves from potential abuse.
- The critical-thinking skills students learn in the classroom, library, and lab should be applied to Internet resources and Web searching.
- Students need to know what to do and who to ask for help when they encounter a person or site on the Internet that is offensive or threatening to them.
- Students and adults are strongly encouraged to be responsible citizens. Report illegal Internet communications and activities to Internet Service Providers and local law enforcement authorities.
Internet messages and the people who send them are not always what or who they seem.
- People in chat rooms, instant message “buddies,” or those who visit a blog may not be who they appear to be. Students should learn to recognize when someone is potentially dangerous.
- Students need to realize when an Internet encounter may be questionable and how to protect themselves when this occurs.
- E-mail can cause malicious code infection problems for a computer or network. Students should not open e-mail or attachments from unknown sources.
- Students need to know which information is safe to share with others online, which should never be shared, and why sharing it could put them at risk.
- Students never should reveal online any information about where they live or attend school.
- Students need to be aware their electronic messages, even those with known friends, can leave electronic footprints that can be misused by others.
Predators and cyberbullies anonymously use the Internet to manipulate students. Students must learn how to avoid dangerous situations and get adult help.
- Sexual predators deceive students by pretending to be students themselves. They sometimes lure young people into a false sense of security or blind trust and try to alienate them from their families. Students need to learn about these types of psychological ploys and how to get immediate adult help.
- Bullies use Internet tools, such as instant messaging and the Web, to harass or spread false rumors about students.
- Students need to know how to seek proper help in these potentially dangerous situations.
- Students need to know that posting personal information and pictures can allow predators to contact and begin grooming them for illegal meetings and actions. Personal photos can be easily misused or altered when posted on the Internet.
Internet activities, such as playing games and downloading music or video files, can be enjoyable. Students need to know which activities are safe and legal.
- Gaming sites can attract sexual predators and/or cyberbullies.
- Some games may contain pornographic and/or violent images. Students need to talk with parents about what is acceptable.
- Students need to know how to detect whether a specific file download is legal and/or free of malicious code.