With Safer internet day coming soon on February 9, I thought it is fitting to share some of the many resources I tap into with our young learners. It’s never too early to start a digital citizenship program at school. I find with technology being so accessible and mobile, young children are exposed to places and items on the web we never thought possible. I guess the most positive thing to come out of conversations I have with children is, they get it. They get that it’s a big wide world out there on the net, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills to ‘survive’. By engaging children in the responsibility that comes with using digital tools and being connected, we begin to add another set of tools to their belt.
Take a look at some of these resource ideas:
The Internet is Like a Puddle attends to the wonderful aspects of electronic communication as well as gently discusses some of the possible pitfalls of sharing, chatting and using data. There is a need to be mindful of those who are naive to the potential problems without denying them the wonderful opportunities. The Internet is Like a Puddle describes ways to stay safe and enjoy learning and chatting time on the Internet and to keep life balanced.
The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone is the story of Wesley, a young mouse who loved to surf. Despite his parents’ warnings, he went surfing alone and encountered numerous predators. With quick thinking and common sense, Wesley avoided dangers and returned home safely. Wesley’s adventure is a perfect way to introduce young children to safe “surfing” on the internet.
The fourth title in the series, What Does It Mean To Be Safe? explores physical, emotional, social, and cyber safety in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversations between adults and children.
Chick has a problem. Every night, when the farmer and his wife are asleep, she sneaks into their house and goes online on their computer to order things. She starts with a teapot, and a motorbike! Soon she’s buying diamond watches and a hundred handbags, for which the farmer blames his wife – she, of course, gets angry and blames his dodgy software since she certainly didn’t order those things! Chick starts to buy gifts for all her farm animal friends, but all too soon she realises she’s alone on the farm and in need of a friend. Can she find one online?
Whilst being a beautifully-illustrated, fun and rhyme-driven story for 5-7 year olds, PENGUINPIG has a strong underlying message that we need to think carefully before we trust what we read online. It enforces the message that some people use the Internet to trick others and that, in the event of being uncertain, children should check with a trusted adult.
Online lives begin at an early age, and this collection offers at-level information on Internet safety for early readers. One simple lesson in online safety is drawn out in each book; each lesson explains why the guideline is key to protecting users and how kids can put each lesson into action. Written by a school librarian who specializes in teaching elementary students, the fundamentals of netiquette and online safety presented make this collection a wonderful resource for school programs that foster responsible digital citizenship.
For young learners, I can’t go past the mini e-Cadets program. The program allows children to lead other children in digital safety. With children in leadership roles, they learn, they launch and they lead their teachers and peers through lessons on e-Safety. A great program for confidence building and team work.
If you are not quite sure where to start, the commonsense media Digital Citizenship program is in-depth and easy to follow. From professional development materials, to student interactives, to lessons and assessments, and family outreach materials, the comprehensive curriculum is turnkey to implement.
“Play your part for a better internet”