The internet has evolved into a fantastic platform for bringing people together from all over the world together. During covid-19, the internet was used to its full potential, with all activities taking place online. Along with the benefits, the internet contains a lot of risk especially for students. As a school you must come up with ways to keep students safe online.
What are online risks to a Student?
Students automatically on the list of risks when they use the internet. Why? Even though they are techno-savvy, they only learn how to process technologies and the internet but don’t know about the risk and effect. You must first be conscious of them to make them aware. So, let’s have a look at some of the internet’s dangers.
Students all over the world are constantly inventing new ways to communicate with others. However, forming relationships with the wrong people can be dangerous. Often you cannot know how people really are, which creates terrible memories for the rest of their life. Gaming and social media are a source of cyberbullying on the internet.
Social media helps exchange views and thoughts and create new friends, while games have new features to interact with people. When the thought doesn’t match each, it arises conflict and leads to hateful messages, comments which creates cyberbullying. Sometimes they might share private pictures, which can also be used in blackmailing, spreading lies, and cyberbullying.
2. Adult Content and Pornography
Students often come across adult content and pornography online by accident. When young people become curious and interested in a subject, they look for and further study it. Further exposure to pornography might lead to sexual violence, develop unrealistic expectations, brutal intimacy, and relationship, leading to addiction.
3. Depression and Anxiety
Another dangerous risk of the internet is depression and anxiety. Students cannot find a difference between social media and realities. Often they confuse the world of social media as a reality and affect their self-esteem. The more social media causes psychological and mental health effects, resulting in less or more sleep, weight loss, anxiety, and depression.
4. Abusive and Violent Content
Similarly, there is not only adult and inappropriate content online. Abusive and aggressive imagery can affect their emotional and psychological well-being and thoughts. As I have talked earlier, their brain perceives such contents and reality, which can change their perception and view about people and humans.
5. Accidently downloading malware
You will never be completely safe on the internet, and everyone, even adults, can download malware. The malware contains viruses, ransomware, and spyware, which helps steal all users’ private and confidential data. Or in the worst-case scenario, all the data might be permanently lost from the computer and damage the system.
6. Phishing and Online Predators
Hackers use email to attach malware links and attachments to attack a user device. Here students may find it challenging to recognize the difference between a malicious link and a legitimate email address. So, cyber attackers find an opportunity to attack and lure private information such as banking and credit card details and many more.
Similarly, online predators use the internet to target young boys and girls for sexual exploitation and abusive behavior. Some of them even ask the students to have a face-to-face conversation online or even lure them into meeting directly.
5 Online Safety Rules for school That You Cannot Ignore
A school’s priority is students. Even though you may be implementing different changes and rules for them. Unless you implement internet safety rules, you cannot keep them safe in school and at home. So, here are some of the ways to make your work easier and keep students safe from online:
1. Education is the best approach to make students aware
Education aids in developing self-awareness and alertness, all of which are essential in the internet era. Keep an extra course to the syllabus to emphasize the importance of the topic. Since students do not take additional subjects seriously, the safest approach is to enroll them in a course where you can teach them about law and rights online.
Students interact with strangers which is one of the concerns for school and parents. Make sure they understand the dangers of bad people on the internet and how they can harm you. As a school, prohibit them from talking with strangers. Other than that, you can teach them the value of speaking up rather than denying or being silent, i.e., zero tolerance is a must.
When someone is trying to bully them, they must not remain silent and ask them to report. Similarly, create an awareness program, participate with them and ask them to give a speech or write an essay on cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, phishing, and many more. Education is one of the influential rules that will help your student to be safe from the internet.
2. Privacy is the best weapon to avoid online danger
A school should teach about privacy rules and regulations. Facebook and different social media have come up with privacy settings to keep their privacy to friends and family. Ask students to keep their social media accounts private and make it a law that they will be fined if they don’t follow.
Here strictness is necessary, and if possible, monitor your student’s media to make sure they are private. Give the reasoning and explanation of why you are strict with them. Make them explain that once you post it, it never goes away online, i.e., teach them about the digital footprint.
3. Cybersecurity and monitoring software makes your work easier
Another important rule for a school is cybersecurity. Make a student known about the importance of passwords and prohibit them from never giving anyone a password. Similarly, ask them to change the password frequently. A school can teach them about a way to install antivirus, malware protection software and regularly update and scan the devices.
Clicking on any link on the internet can increase the risk of hackers and online predators. Make them aware of such topics. Other than that, you can reduce the internet usage of a student. You cannot control it in their home, but you make sure they are not using inappropriate content in school. You can take support from monitoring software.
Students Monitoring software like fenced.ai helps to control unwanted activity from students devices and helps to know what your students are browsing on the internet i. If you can afford it, you can maintain a different system or internet policies for students and teachers.
4. Keep updated about technology and the internet
Don’t know how? But students come up with different ways and technology to remove the restriction and prohibition applied by parents and teachers. They are more techno-savvy than adult people. They connect with technologies and come up with different ways. Here, the teachers are to be careful.
To keep up with a student’s intelligence, you must keep up with technologies, applications or software, and the internet. Investigate various programs and applications on the internet. Learn about the pros and cons of each piece of software. Learn which tech is hazardous to children and which is not.
After that, restrict such apps and software in school. The more you can be updated, the more it helps to keep your student secure. Any students can come to you for guidance and recommendations, and your experience of current technologies can be helpful. As a result, teachers need to stay updated with current software and technologies.
5. Talk with your internet providers
As I previously said, students are technologically sophisticated and up to date, but there are other options where you can speak with your ISP to maintain a safe and secured network. Request that they retain software per their educational sector. ISP must filter all the dangerous and unwanted programs.
You can also block social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many more in school to focus more on education and avoid social media addiction. Many schools have used the same straightforward approach, i.e., ISP, so you don’t have to waste a lot of money and rely on reliable Internet Service Providers to make your job simpler.
In addition to the above rules, you can take suggestions from teachers and parents to make a practical rule that helps children stay safe and protected online. Encourage students to make positive experiences that would last a lifetime.
Do not let the internet intervene to make good memories. As a result, take precautions ahead of time and provide them with education and techniques to minimize danger on their own. If you have any suggestions for school rules and policies, we will be delighted to hear them.