Educating Students About Cyber Safety: Tips and Discussion Topics

With a bit of mentoring, kids can become good digital citizens. This mentoring will help them stay safe online and yet empower them to make the most of technology.

Intel Security has unearthed some key insights on children’s behaviour across India with the ‘Teens Tweens and Technology (TTT) 2015’ study findings. I have referred to some of points below so we can take note of the areas we must watch out for.

 It is safe to say that gadget addiction can affect the health of a student as well as their academic life. The job of training responsible and safe internet users is thus, not limited to parents alone; schools and community too must collaborate to offer children a holistic environment that promotes academic and social development. Schools are the second homes for children, where teachers replace parents as knowledge-givers and discipline-enforcers. Children tend to have greater faith in what their teachers tell them than their parents, especially when it comes to new technology. That’s why schools are the best options for imparting cyber safety education. Their contribution is vital in preparing children for the virtual world. Topics like digital citizenship, cyber civics, cyber-etiquettes, cyber-hygiene and cyber-safety can be explained best in a classroom. Unfortunately, most schools offer only a brief coverage of cyber safety.

Therefore, in today’s blog post, I would be referring to a few interesting facts from Intel Security’s Teens Tweens and Technology study. Also, I intend to touch upon how Teachers can guide netizens of the future. While these are only general guidelines, here’s how we can look at initiating some discussion topics with them depending on their age:

Discussion topics with Pre-tweens:

  1. Asking for permission before using a device
  2. How to close all tabs and why it isn’t safe to click on pop-ups (because of virus attacks)
  1. As per the TTT study mentioned above, 81% of the children within the age 8–16 years old indicate that they are active on social media networks. Hence ensure that the kids are aware about the importance of age appropriate sites to avoid risks of cyberbullying
  2. Bedtime is for stories & lullabies and cuddling with parents, so say bye-bye to video games after dinner
  3. Informing parents if someone or some message bothers them online

Remember: This is the right time to start cyber safety training as their interest in online activities is comparatively less. The focus can be on enhancing social skills that will be helpful online too.

Discussion topics with Tweens:  

  1. How to create a strong password and  its importance
  2. How to determine safe websites and apps. Also why to distrust free offers & lottery wins
  3. Why should we follow age norms and avoid requests online that come in from strangers
  4. Plagiarism: What is online stealing? Why it is wrong to download pirated content?

Creating an e-mail ID & safety measures to be employed to avoid scams, spams and hacks

  1. Why not to share pics and personal details generally

Remember: At this age, children tend to play games online, watch You-Tube videos and movies and create their own e-mail IDs. About 52% of the children in the study indicated that they have bullied people over social media.  Take active part to educate about the ill effects of cyberbullying on its victims and its serious consequences on the perpetrators.

Discussion topics with Teens:

  1. Digital hygiene and security; installing and running security software, keeping ID and personal details private and connecting wisely
  2. (44%) of the children polled were open to meet a stranger they first met online. Children need to understand risks involved in meetings an unverified person. “Stranger = danger” needs to be kept in focus
  3. Digital safety: How to identify a potential threat, like scam, phishing attack, predators
  4. Digital ethics- Identifying right or wrong practices in cyber space
  5. Digital addiction- How to control the urge to check messages, answer calls, play games at odd hours and when in company of people; why it is unhealthy to take devices to bed
  6. Perils of hacking- It is important that these tech-savvy generation know that if they share details carelessly online their accounts can get hacked. In addition, if they hack someone’s account, they stand the danger of facing legal consequences
  7. How to stand up to cyberbullying and consequences of cyberbullying

Remember: By this age, children may start signing up on social media, and join various online communities. They might interact with strangers online and share information and experiences. Therefore, this would be the right time to reinforce their learning of online do’s and don’ts along with the knowledge of online security tools. I urge parents to recognise the importance of digital literacy and take steps to enforce it.

Stay safe online folks!! 

About the Author
Author: Intel Security Cybermum India – Anindita MishraWebsite:
Intel Security Cybermum India, is a digital safety evangelist for educating parents and academicians on ways to keep teens and tweens safe in the virtual world. In this capacity, she writes blogs about the dangers children face online and also provide recommendations for steering clear of them. As a part of the Intel Security’s campaign to educate parents, teachers and children on cyber safety, she shares her insights on Facebook, Twitter and on the Cybermum India blog.

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