To celebrate Digital Citizenship Week (Oct 18-24) we’ve put together a great list of games, quizzes, and resources to help teach kids of all ages be safe and responsible online.
In today’s world it’s almost impossible to keep children from engaging in online conversations. Phones, tablets, games and even TV’s have become connected. When our own children reached an age where they wanted to be social online, we struggled to find appropriate websites. In fact, it’s exactly why we got together to build Creatubbles, and included safety features such as the review of every piece of site content, parent and teacher monitoring, and comment approval.
Of course, not everyone is able to build their own platform, and it’s not easy to control what other kinds of sites older kids access, or even from where they are accessing them.
So what can you do to help the children in your life become a safe, responsible, and happy digital citizens?
Prepare them to deal with situations
Understand the online environments your children use, support their good choices, and offer constructive feedback when they come across something inappropriate. It is unrealistic to manage children’s every move in the online world, so make sure you empower them to make good decisions.
Explain the implications of sharing too much information online. Ensure they know what to do if someone tries to ‘meet’ them, and discuss strategies of how to deal with bullies.
You’ll find some great advice on StaySafeOnline.org, and also from the Canadian-based organisation the Kids Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA), which is running a campaign called Nobody Stands Alone. They have some great downloadable PDF’s for teens, parents and teachers with practical information on what to do if cyberbullying occurs.
Give them a virtual lesson
There are some amazing online games and lessons to help teach children what is smart behaviour and what the consequences of bad decisions might be.
This interactive choose your own adventure game by Digital Compass (for grades 7-9) invites children to explore digital dilemmas without risking their own online reputations.
Digital Bytes teaches teens citizenship through a number of media rich activities that mimic real world issues. Teens learn from the experiences of their peers then create collaborative projects that voice their ideas for making smart, safe choices online.
Infinite Learning has a series of cartoons for younger children, to teach them about cyber-bullying, manners, and online safety. Teachers who sign up are given quizzes and teacher guides to help plan lessons.
Media Smarts has a game designed for kids aged 8-10 teaching them how to spot online marketing strategies, protect their personal information, and avoid online predators.
Netsmartz Kids is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, providing age-appropriate resources to teach them how to be safer on and offline. The program is designed for kids aged 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement.
Teachers can also find a whole host of lesson plans and resources on Kids in the Know for grades 5-6.
Remember that online safety is something that needs to be visited and discussed regularly, at home and at school. You can read about ways to help students be safe and social, or even consider how Human Rights Education might help your school.
Above all, support your children or students to make good choices. Internet service providers all have features that can help you block certain websites, monitor the amount of time spent online, or limit the people that can contact them. Using the websites listed above, as well as Creatubbles, you will educate your child in social netiquette helping them to make the right choices, even when you are not there. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or a young artist, try our platform and give us your feedback on how we can make it even better!
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