It is the complex role of a teacher to nurture, promote and protect the educational interests of students. Internet safety is now another concern. The job description for a teacher is now expanded to include the tool of the internet. Every user of the network has the responsibility to practice safe computing. The teacher is the role model for safe computing. They teach students the basics so students can maintain their safety when they venture out by themselves. Both the teacher and the parent have the distinction of possibly being the very first line of defense for children when an online problem happens.
Teachers know the internet is not a secure environment. It isn’t safe for unsupervised children. The only safe computer is the one not connected to the internet.
With The Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), each teacher, student and parent agrees to explain the privilege, not the right, of access to the internet during school hours, after school hours, using school computers, what content can and can’t be accessed, and what content and transmissions are monitored by the network. Most of the AUP should be common sense to teachers, like not breaking the law with copyright violations, transmitting child pornography, network intrusion, or inappropriate conversations among teachers, students, and between students and teachers. The remainder of the AUP should reinforce basic internet safety practices.
Teachers should also be aware of changes in individual student’s behavior whether the cause is from a situation in the classroom or online. Teachers should report any inappropriate online behavior such as cyberbullying, network intrusion attempts or harassment. Students should be taught proper online etiquette, where to report online problems, and about the inappropriateness and effects of cyberbullying.
Filtering software can be a teacher’s helper. It doesn’t replace the immediate attention given each student and there can be limitations with its’ use. For example, if a high school student has a science research assignment about breast cancer the information can be forbidden because of the word ‘breast’. Some filtering software restricts the use of blogs or chat rooms. This can also limit the student’s ability to participate in educational interactive websites.
Students must have internet safety included in their curriculum as soon as possible. So many children know how to use the internet but they aren’t learning how to cross the cyberstreet safely before learning to drive the cybercar, so to speak.