Grade School Cyber Security Kit: Online Safety 101

The Internet can be a place of endless wonders. It’s where you learn, talk, shop, and play. Still, the Internet is just like anything else in life- there are important rules that everyone should follow in order to make sure they stay safe while online.

Follow the Internet rules at school and at home:

How much screen time is too much?
It’s really easy to get caught up visiting fun websites, and playing awesome games, but there’s also a whole big world to explore, away from the screen! Know when it’s time to put down the mouse and go outside and play. Come to an agreement with your parents about how much time you’ll spend staring at the screen each day.

Only visit sites that are approved by parents, teachers and family members.
Talk to the adults that you trust about some of the activities that you want to do on the Internet. They can help you find the right websites and steer you clear of the bad If you are interested in joining a social media website, ask your parents to help you find the right ones for kids your age.

Find out your school’s rules about bringing your own devices to class.
Some schools may allow tablets, computers and smartphones in class, since they’re great learning tools. They can also be distracting for you and other students if you don’t follow the rules about them. Learn the rules before bringing a phone or computer into the classroom.

Protect your computer and devices.
Always be careful when you have food & drinks around the computer; damage can happen if you spill a drink on a laptop, or drop your tablet on a hard surface. Treat your gadgets with care – they’re lots of fun, but can break easily if not taken care of properly.

Stranger Danger:

Do not give personal information to strangers online.
Since everything you do online is with a computer, it’s very easy for someone to hide behind the computer screen and pretend they’re someone else. You may think you are talking to a kid your age, but it could be someone much older behind that screen instead. If someone asks to meet you that you have only talked with online, be sure to tell an adult immediately.

What is personal information?
Personal information is stuff about you such as your full name, city or address, telephone number, birthday, your parent’s name, what school you go to and even photos. If someone you don’t know asks you for any of these things, you should tell a trusted adult right away.

Make safe online accounts.
Sometimes when you join a new website, you need to create a username with a safe password that protects your personal information. Never use your full name as the username. A safe password is a password that has no words that can be found in a dictionary, and should contain a mix of numbers (1,2,3…), letters (A,B,C…) and special characters(!,$,*…).

Need help coming up with a password? Try our handy tool to help you make a safe and secure password.

Talk to your parents or teachers if someone’s online behavior makes you uncomfortable.
Cyberbullying is not okay. If someone is making you feel bad or uncomfortable through the computer or phone, don’t respond, and notify a parent or adult you trust. If you see anything online that you don’t think is right, even if it doesn’t involve you, it’s a good idea to talk openly with your parents or teacher about what you see.

Appropriate Email and Messages
Lots of “bad guys” on the Internet will try to trick people into downloading malware, or viruses through email messages. A computer virus is a program that can make your computer “sick.” Email addresses should remain private and only given to people you know in real life. If you meet someone new, ask your parents first if it’s okay to give them your email address. Do not open email from strangers. If you receive any kind of email that you’re not sure is safe or not, get an adult to come help you figure out if you should open it.

Just Because it’s On The Internet, Doesn’t Mean it’s True.

Internet bad guys can try to trick you into giving away information about yourself, for many reasons, none of which are safe. Remember that everyone’s real face is hidden behind a computer screen, even if they have a photo of themselves. Any stranger can pretend to be a friend. If anything you come across online makes you feel confused, uncomfortable or even scares you, know that it’s ok to go get an adult to help you make the right decisions while online.