These 21 learning activities are designed to sow the seeds of online safety early in their lives and make sure your kids are not subjected to unsuitable content and understand what is and what isn’t appropriate online behavior while having fun surfing the net.
The easiest and safest way to keep kids safe whenever they are surfing the internet is through software. We recommend the multi award-winning Witigo Parental Filter – it’s easy to use and protects children against inappropriate web content.
Cyber Rules: Split your class into groups of four who must come up with a list of cyber safety rules the class must follow when they are online. Rules can include the amount of time spent on the computer, when to take breaks, how to treat others, what websites to visit, etc. Post the list of rules on the wall.
Piki Wiki: Open Wikipedia on the kids’ computers or tablets and instruct them to find and read an article on a topic of your choice. Can they find three interesting facts to share with the class?
Me Mail: Go through the process of setting up an email address on Gmail. They need to come up with a unique username and write their username on the board when complete. Draw a line connecting pairs of usernames for the kids to send their first emails to each other.
Attach and Catch: Make sure there is an image file or document on the computer desktops. Now instruct the children how to send an email with an attachment on it. The receivers will then learn how to open and view the attachments.
A: Because it forgot to close its windows.
Blog Builder: Some websites exist that allow users to set up their own private blogs that can only be read by friends. Help your kids set up their personal blog and write their first entry along with an image they downloaded. The topic can be about the subject they are currently learning about.
Spam and Scam: Send the kids five emails, each with different attachments on them and from different senders. The kids should also recognize just two of the names. Ask the kids which emails they should open, which are suspicious, and which they should not open. Teach the children that they should only open emails from people they know or if they are expecting an email from someone. They should also never open suspicious attachments.
Live Chat: Install a program on each computer that allows the children to type and chat to each other. They must all participate in the conversation about a topic of your choosing. Ask one student to be the chat moderator and keep the chat positive and on topic.
Reveal Conceal: Live chat with your kids and begin asking for their personal information. Explain to the kids what is appropriate and not appropriate to share with others online.
Comments Comments Comments: Ask your kids to read the comments under a video they found after your instruction. Are they positive or negative? What comment would they leave under the video? Check the comments for profanity first.
Safe Sites: Write a list of five sites that allow the children to play educational games online. Explain that these sites are safe and will never ask for their personal information but also offer really awesome fun games. Sites with fun kid’s learning games include Disney, PBS Games, BBC Games (UK only), Nat Geo Games, and NASA.
Set and Forget: Teach your kids how to configure their settings in their internet browser. Useful cyber safety settings include enabling a popup blocker, deleting cookies, and disabling the save password feature.
Smooth Operator: Regular online searches may provide too many irrelevant results. Teach your children how to improve their search abilities by using Google Search operations such as adding quote marks to their search phrase to include only results with that exact phrase and adding a negative symbol to any words they don’t want to appear in their search results.
My Bookmarks: Teach your kids how to save fun and educational websites they would like to revisit in the future by making a new bookmark folder and saving the sites.
School Social: Social media is enjoyed by millions of people around the world every day. Teaching your kids good social media habits by setting up accounts on dedicated education social media sites and showing them what appropriate and inappropriate behavior is. This will give them the foundation needed for safe use as they grow older.
Netiquette: There are some unwritten rules that are generally followed online. Teach your kids why it’s important not to bully others, complain to others, write negative comments, correct others’ grammar and spelling, send mass emails to many addresses at once, and joining discussions but never participating. Can they think of any other examples?
Say No to Cyber Bullying: Ask your kids to think about and provide examples of what they would consider cyber bullying. Now add to the list anything they may not have highlighted. Discuss alternative ways the children may communicate in the same situations.
BRB: At some stage of their online development, your kids will encounter internet abbreviations. Make a list on the board and ask them to guess the meaning. They can use these ‘sfw’ abbreviations for their online chats.
Why Fy? Hopefully you are within range of some wireless networks, both open and protected. If not, you can use screenshots. Teach your children that it’s not safe to connect to other networks, even open ones, unless they know the source can be trusted. Also teach them how to secure their own Wi-Fi connections at home.
Hacker Help: Find some information about viruses and hackers to teach your children why it’s important not to click on certain items or download unknown software. Inform them to always come see you or their guardian if they are ever in doubt about what to do.
You Shall Not Pass: The hardest part of setting up accounts for various websites is having to remember all your passwords. But it’s never a good idea to store all your passwords on your computer either. Teach your children how to create passwords that are both easy for them to remember but hard for other to guess. Ask them to use a mixture of lower and uppercase letter and numbers.
Ergonomics: Sitting at the computer for long periods can be harmful to your health and eyesight. One of the most important internet safety tips for kids is learning how to sit properly when on the computer and understanding why they should take regular breaks and do stretching exercises.
Get more internet safety tips and online activities for kids in our book 1001 Fun Class Activities & Learning Games available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback.