If you’re a Boomer, Gen Xer, or even a Millennial, you probably remember going to school with your books, notebooks, and pencils. In the classroom, your teacher most likely used a chalkboard or white erase board, and rolled out their clunky projector for special lessons.
The way students are taught has changed dramatically over the past decade. Since the advent of the Internet in 1995, classrooms have caught on and used this worldwide database to educate pupils. Today’s generations, which include the Gen Z, iGen, and Centennial generations, are going to school with just a take-home laptop or tablet.
While technology is rapidly improving how children are taught and communicate with their peers and people across the world, it poses some serious threats. If you’re an educator, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure your students are safe navigating the web. Take a look to see how schools can protect their students while using the internet.
Teach Safe Browsing Habits
Today’s teachers aren’t just subject matter specialists. Instead, they need to be well-versed in a variety of topics and issues to teach their students how to succeed in life. With technology being omnipresent in all of our lives, teachers must be experts in safe online practices.
Some important safe browsing strategies you should teach at the beginning and throughout the year include:
- Don’t open or respond to spam emails
- Be cautious with who you talk to online
- Never give away any personal information, such as Social Security number, phone number, and address
- Don’t download illegal files or software
- Be cautious with popups
- Don’t create an email with your full name
- Create strong passwords
- Use different passwords for each account
- Only purchase items from secure accounts
Protect Students from Harmful Content
As a teacher, it’s hard to keep an eye on all of your students every second, let alone their computer monitors. Instead of spending the majority of your time reprimanding students for playing Minecraft or going on Twitter when you’re not looking, invest in web filtering software. Web filtering software will monitor your students’ screens and activity, allowing you to focus on your lesson rather than behavior management. Web filtering software has the ability to:
- Detect explicit content
- Filter appropriate and inappropriate website domains
- Encrypt your data
- Send messages to students based on their online behavior
- Create custom filters for individual students
- Find missing devices that were lost or stolen
Enhance Web Security
Teaching your students safe browsing habits is a great way to prevent misuse of the Internet. However, cyberhackers and cybercriminals can easily crack a student’s password or break into their computer. If you’re equipping your classroom with netbooks and tablets, make sure you have antivirus software installed on each device. Also, it’s important to make sure all passwords are securely stored and documented, which can be done with a password tracker.
Encourage Respectful Behavior
Not only is it important to protect your students’ personal information, such as their phone number and address, it’s also important to protect their overall well-being. The use of computers serves as an outlet for students to post harmful content, comments, and pictures relating to their peers. Cyberbullying is a major concern in school districts across America, which is why it’s crucial you encourage your students to act respectfully on the internet.
Teaching nowadays is not only preparing students for state exams and college. Teaching requires teachers to mold students into model citizens who act with empathy and compassion. Before the start of the school year, go over cyberbullying, how to act appropriately online, and how to treat peers with respect. This will set the tone for the school year and will create a positive classroom environment that promotes learning, collaboration, and creativity.
Teaching isn’t just summers off, long winter breaks, and a workday that ends at 3. In fact, teachers spend most of their time out of the classroom creating lesson plans, grading papers, working with students, and partaking in extracurricular activities. One major role teachers are tasked with taking on is protecting their students while they use the internet. With these tips in mind, from teaching safe browsing habits to upping web security, you can have peace of mind knowing your students are in a safe space.