Social Media and Internet Safety
As internet use has become a daily part of most students' lives, students must know how to protect themselves and their identity at all times—especially when teachers and parents aren't there to help them.
- Grades K-2
- Grades 3-5
- Middle & High School
- Internet Safety Information
- Internet Safety Definitions
- Internet Safety Resources for Families
- Social Media, Apps and Websites
Basic tips for keeping students at this level engaged:
The district's main objective at this level is to teach them how to stay safe and reinforce that they should only be online when a parent or guardian is sitting with them.
*It is essential that students understand and commit to not sharing personal information with anyone they meet online.
*Reinforce that children should talk openly with their parents or guardian about what they see online and should always tell them if anyone asks for personal information.
*Students must commit to follow the family and school rules about safety on the Internet and when playing online games.
The district's main objectives at this level are:
- Be visible and assist students when they are working in small groups. This will help them stay on task and work quickly and thoughtfully to complete the scenarios.
- Many students at this age level already use the Internet regularly and enjoy sharing what they know.
Key concepts for students at this age level to understand and apply to their online experience:
*It is essential that students understand and commit to not sharing personal information with anyone they meet online. This includes their real name, address, phone number, financial information, school name, passwords, or other private information.
*Reinforce that children should talk openly with their parents or guardian about what they see online and should always tell them if anyone asks for personal information or makes them feel uncomfortable.
*Students must commit to follow the family and school rules set up to keep everyone safe while online.
Middle & High School
Basic tips for keeping students at this level engaged:
- Students in this age group know a lot and most use the Internet regularly.
- Students at this age level often crave privacy. An important underlying theme is to teach them to have open communication with parents, guardians, teachers, or other trusted adults.
The district's main objectives at this age level are to understand and apply to their online experience:
- It is essential that students understand and commit to not sharing personal information with people they view as "friends" online. This includes their real name, address, phone number, financial information, school name, passwords, or other private information.
- Although many students at this age level know basic ways to stay safe while online, they must also commit to being ethical online users. Simple items to review include:
- Post only what you would feel comfortable with the whole world seeing, including parents or college admissions personnel.
- Never use the Internet to spread gossip, bully or hurt someone’s reputation.
- Students should understand what security tools are available to use on most computers to further protect themselves, their personal information, and their computer from viruses, spyware, and spam.
- Students must also understand that they are in charge of their online experience and should manage it the way they would in the real world. If something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable, they have the right to not respond, delete a post, and most importantly tell a trusted adult.
- Students must commit to never meet in person with someone they met online.
Internet Safety Information
Apple Device - Parental Controls
Device - Parental Controls
- Comparison of Mobile Device Parental Controls
- Amazon/Kindle Parental Controls
- Nintendo Information For Parents
- PlayStation 4 Parental Controls
- PlayStation 5 Parental Controls
- XBox Parental Controls
- Cox Parental Controls
Internet Site and or App - Parental Controls and/or Safety Tips
- Craigslist Safety
- Facebook Family Safety Center
- Facebook CDSE Smart Card - PDF
- Google Safe Search for Kids
- KidRex (Kid Friendly Search Engine)
- Kik Tips for Parents
- Snapchat Safety Center
- TextPlus Safety Tips for Parents and Educators
- Voxer Support
- YouTube Parent Resources
Internet Safety Definitions
Attachment – A file that can be added to an e-mail, like a document, photograph, or song. Sometimes attachments carry viruses, so do not open attachments from unknown parties.
Blacklisting Software – A form of filtering that blocks only sites specified as harmful. You can add and remove sites from this "no-go" list.
Blocking Software – Computer programs that block access to websites or other services available over the Internet.
Blog – A Web log, or blog, is an online journal or diary where writers, known as bloggers, may chronicle their daily lives or comment on news and popular culture. Blogs can be set up on social networking sites or on separate blogging websites, such as Xanga® and Blogger®.
Bookmark – A way to quickly access a favorite website by saving it in your browser.
Browser – A program that allows users to view Web pages. Mozilla® Foxfire and Microsoft® Internet Explorer are examples of popular browsers.
Chat Acronym – An acronym used to communicate, usually through instant and text messaging. Some popular acronyms include
ASL - Age/sex/location
BRB - Be right back
CD9 - Code 9, parents around
F2T - Free to talk
IDK - I don’t know
LGH - Let’s get high
LMIRL - Let’s meet in real life
LOL - Laugh out loud
MorF - Male or female
POS - Parents over shoulder
PRON - Porn
TMI - Too much information
Chat Room – An interactive forum where you can talk in real-time. The chat room is the place or location online where the chat is taking place. Many chat rooms are established so that people can discuss a common interest like music or movies.
Cookie – Websites use these files to store information on your browser, such as log-in or registration identification, user preferences, and online "shopping-cart" information. Your browser saves the information and reuses it when you return to those websites. You can refuse to accept cookies or erase all cookies saved on your browser.
Cyberbullying – Bullying through Internet applications and technologies such as instant messaging (IM), social networking sites, and cell phones. For more information about cyberbullying and its different forms, visit http://www.netsmartz.org.
CyberTipline® – The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline is operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It is a means for reporting crimes against children, such as child sexual exploitation. It can be reached at http://www.missingkids.org/cybertipline
Download – Information retrieved from the Internet, discs or CDs, and other computers which you can use or save to your computer.
E-mail (electronic mail) – A service that allows people to send messages with pictures and sounds from their computer to any other computer in the world. To send someone an e-mail message you need an e-mail account and to know the other person's email address.
File-sharing Program – Any program that allows many different users to share files, such as movie, music, and image files, directly with each other. There may be a risk of illegally downloading materials or downloading a computer virus.
Filtering Software – Software which allows the screening of unwanted Internet content or blocks specific functions, such as e-mail or instant messages.
Firewall – This is a system that creates a special "wall" to keep out unwanted information, like spam and viruses, and unwanted people, like hackers.
Geolocation Services – Users may use these services to share their locations with their friends or with other users. Examples of these services include
- Facebook Places®
Grooming –This is the process predators use to manipulate minors into sexual relationships or into producing sexual images of themselves. It often includes the giving of compliments or gifts. For more information about predators and their tactics, visit https://www.missingkids.org.
Hacker – A popular term for someone who accesses computer information either legally or illegally.
History – A list of websites the people using a particular computer have visited. Check your children’s website history to see what sites they have visited.
Homepage – The Web page that your browser is set to open when it starts up, or the main page of any website.
Hyperlinks – An image or a portion of text that, when clicked, allows electronic connections. These connections access other Internet materials such as images, sounds, animations, videos, or other Web pages.
Icons – Small pictures that represent the programs on your computer.
Instant Messaging – Through instant messaging (IM), users can quickly exchange messages with other online users, simulating a real-time conversation or “chat.” Messages appear almost instantly on the recipient’s monitor, and anyone designated as a “buddy” can participate.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – A company that provides Internet access to customers, like Comcast®.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPG) – These games allow a player to choose a character and then interact with many other players in a virtual game world. World of Warcraft®is one example of an MMORPG.
Monitoring Software – Software products that allow parents to monitor or track the websites or e-mail messages that a child visits or reads.
Mouse Trapping – A commonly used technique by pornography sites where a user gets "locked" in a website. While surfing the Internet it is possible to click a website and have multiple undesirable websites open. When this happens, you often cannot close or back out of the sites and must close your Web browser completely.
Netiquette – Courtesy, honesty, and polite behavior practiced on the Internet.
Pharming – An online scam that attacks the browser's address bar. Users type in what they think is a valid website address and are unknowingly redirected to an illegitimate site that steals their personal information.
Phishing – An online scam that uses e-mail to "fish" for users' private information by imitating legitimate companies. Scammers copy legitimate websites and set up nearly identical pages. People are lured into sharing user names, passwords, account information, or credit card numbers.
Piracy – Illegally copying copyrighted software, music, or movies.
Plug-in – This software extends the capabilities of your browser. They may allow you to play multimedia or audio files, for example.
Podcast – An audio show that is broadcast over the web and may include talk shows, music, or other types of audio.
Profile – Social media sites often call for users to create a profile where they share certain information, such as their real names, hobbies, and interests. Facebook® and MySpace® users create a profile when they join the sites.
RSS – A way to provide Web content, such as news articles, in standard XML format.
Search Engine – A program that searches for information on the World Wide Web by looking for specific keywords and returns a list of information found on that topic. Google®, Yahoo! ®, and BingTM are examples of search engines.
Sexting – The use of cell phones to send sexual messages, pictures, and videos.
Smartphone - Unlike its more basic counterparts, smartphones have operating systems and allow users to run applications similar to those used on computers. For example, users may be able to view, create, and edit documents from a smartphone.
Social Media Sites – Internet applications which are used to facilitate communication between users. These applications include
- Blogs and microblogs such as LiveJournal® and Twitter®
- E-mail programs such as Gmail™, Yahoo!Mail®, and Hotmail®
- Picture and video sharing sites such as Flickr®, Photobucket®, and YouTube®
- Social networking sites such as Facebook®, MySpace®, and MyYearbook®
- Virtual worlds such Habbo®
Social Networking Site – An online community where people from all over the world may meet and share common interests. These sites allow members to set up a profile, which may include information such as name, location, phone number, age, and gender. Often users will post pictures and videos.
Spam – Unwanted e-mail from someone you don't know. It is usually trying to sell you something.
Streaming – The exchange of video clips, sound, or other types of media over the Internet. It is a way for the user to quickly download these files.
Temporary Internet Files – A folder on your computer that will tell you every site that has been visited. Every time you open a Web page, your computer saves a copy of that site’s files and graphics in your “temporary Internet files folder.”
Virus – A computer program that can destroy files or make your computer "crash." Viruses can be sent via e-mail or through other file-sharing programs. Anti-virus software and not downloading information from people you don't know can help keep viruses from damaging your computer.
Web 2.0 – The evolution of the Internet which allows users to create their own content and put it on the Web, in addition to downloading content. Social networking sites, like Bebo®, and video-sharing sites, like YouTube®, are both part of Web 2.0.
Webcam – Webcams, also known as “cams,” are video cameras set up on home computers or laptops that can be accessed via the World Wide Web.
Whitelisting Software – A form of filtering that only allows connection to a preapproved list of sites that are considered useful and appropriate.
Internet Safety Resources for Families
Internet Safety Workshop Handouts
On multiple occasions, Scott Driscoll, Law Enforcement Officer, Parent, and Educator has presented Internet Safety Workshops for parents and adults for Suffield Public Schools. Below are the handouts from the workshops:
- Internet Safety Concepts Parent Hand Out - PDF
- Family Contract for Online Safety and Usage (Kids) - PDF
- Family Contract for Online Safety and Usage (Teenager) - PDF
Other valuable information can be found on his website: http://internetsafetyconcepts.com/
Information for Parents
These sites will help you educate your kids to be safe and responsible users of the Internet, social media, and personal technology.
Boston Children's Hospital Digital Wellness Lab - This partnership between Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health has a database of research and also offers tips and resources for parents to help their families use media in a healthy manner.
Common Sense Media - This site reviews websites and other media for children and rates them according to their age-appropriateness. You'll also find advice for parents about cell phones, gaming, and more.
ConnectSafely - This site has tips, advice, the latest news, and blogs about the online world and its effect on children and teenagers. It also hosts a forum for parents and kids who want to bring their questions and concerns to experts.
iKeepSafe - This site has many resources for parents, educators, and policymakers who teach youth how to use new media devices and platforms in a safe and healthy ways.
Trend Micro - Lots of information on Internet Safety for families from Trend Micro, the sponsor of Internet Safety Night.
Trend Micro Blog - A good source for timely advice on issues, technologies, and laws that affect kids online.
Social Media, Apps and Websites
Top 10 Social Networking and Messaging Apps and/or Websites
||Facebook is the world's largest social networking site with more than 1 billion users. Users create online profiles and connect with friends and family who are also on Facebook, share information about themselves, and post photos and videos.|
|Facebook Messenger is like texting, but you don't have to pay for every message (it works with your data plan or WiFi).|
Instagram is a photo-sharing and social networking service that allows users to take pictures with their mobile device, apply digital filters to them, and post them to popular social media sites.
|Kik is a smartphone messaging system that allows users to send instant messages, videos, and pictures to their friends or contacts without going over cell phone provider text or data plan limits.|
||Pinterest is a photo-sharing website where users can "pin" images and videos they create or find to theme-based bulletin boards or collections.|
|Snapchat is a photo-messaging application where users send photos or videos to friends that disappear from the friend's devices within 10 seconds after being viewed.|
|TikTok is a video-focused social networking service owned by ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes.|
||Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send real-time text messages or Tweets, limited to 140 characters. Tweets can include links to websites, photos, videos, and other online content.|
|YouTube is a video-sharing website where registered users can upload, share, view, organize, and comment on videos.|
|WhatsApp Messenger is a messaging application that uses your cell data or WiFi (when available) to message with friends and family.|
Other Popular Apps and/or Websites
|Ask.fm is a social networking site where users can invite questions from other users on the site or from anonymous users.|
|Badoo is a dating app that allows users to chat, share videos and share photos. The app is intended for adults only.|
|Bumble is a dating app that requires women to make the first move with connections. Kids have been known to create fake profiles and falsify their ages, according to officials.|
|Calculator# looks like a calculator but secretly hides photos, videos, documents, passwords, and contacts.|
|Discord allows users to chat with both friends and strangers through voice, video and text while playing video games. Users have reported racial slurs and explicit content on the app.|
Find My Friends
|Find My Friends allows you to easily locate friends and family using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Just install the app and invite friends to share locations by choosing from your contacts or entering their email addresses.|
|Foursquare is a location-based mobile app that allows users to "check-in" at physical places they visit, thus notifying their friends and followers where they can be found.|
|Grindr is a dating app for the LGBTQ+ community that allows users to chat, share photos and meet up based on the apps geolocation.|
|Holla is a live, random video chat social app that allows users to meet others all over the world instantly. Users have reported racial slurs and explicit content on the app.|
||LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service used for professional networking.|
|LiveMe is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so that users can find out a streamers exact location. Users can earn "coins" as a way to "pay" other users for photos.|
|MeetMe is a social networking app that allows users to connect based on geolocation and encourages them to meet up.|
|Roblox is an online game with a chat function which opens users up to solicitation from predators.|
|Skout is a location-based dating app and website that allows sharing photos. Children under the age of 17 have been known to make profiles with falsified ages.|
|Tango is a free messaging service. Send text messages, make video & voice calls, share photos, meet new friends, play games, send music messages & more.|
|Tinder is a matchmaking mobile app which connects with users' Facebook profiles to provide pictures and ages for other users to view. Using GPS technology, users can set a specific radius, and they have the option to match with anyone that is within that distance.|
Tumblr is a micro-blogging and social networking site where users post photos, video, audio, text and other media to their blog, which can be re-posted and shared by followers.
|Vimeo is a video-sharing website where users can upload, share, and view videos. Vimeo does not limit the length of videos.|
|Whisper is an anonymous social platform that encourages users to share secrets with one another. The app also reveals the users location to allow people to meet up.|
|Spoof Texting allows someone to send texts that appear to have come from another person.|
|Fake Conversation allows you to create a fake conversation message screenshot.|
|FaceTime is a live video calling service that allows users on mobile Apple devices to see one another as they talk. (Known Account Interactions)|
|Omegle is a free online chat website that allows users to communicate with strangers without registering. (Random "Stranger" Interactions)|
|Skype is a free communications software that allows registered users to use their computers or other devices to video call, instant message, and mobile chat through the Internet.|
Children's Social Networking
|MovieStarPlanet is a social networking website for children ages 8 to 15 where each player creates his or her own virtual movie star persona that can make movies, chat with friends, play games, and climb the celebrity status ladder.|
|Whyville is a virtual town for children and preteens that offers educational tools to engage users in learning about a broad range of topics, including science, geography, business, history, and civics.|