Cyber Ethics for Students: Teaching Digital Citizenship | Mount Dora Christian Academy

What is Cyber Ethics?

Cyber ethics are a set of guidelines and moral principles that allow people to make smart, safe, and responsible decisions on the internet.
Just as we are taught life lessons that help us become responsible people in the real-world, like “Don’t do harm to others” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” we also must learn how to act responsibly online.

Why Cyber Ethics is Important for Students

Students are more connected than ever before: whether it’s at school or at home, the internet is always within arms’ reach, which unfortunately exposes them to things like hacking, cyberbullying, and identity theft.
Therefore, students should be educated on cyber ethics issues early on in life so that they can be safe, happy, and ethical online as we would want them to be offline. Furthermore, teaching good cyber etiquette prepares students to be responsible citizens, as many of the strategies used for avoiding pitfalls online are applicable to the real world.
Cyber ethics for students can be a tricky subject to teach as there are many different aspects to it, but a good foundation should include training on each of the following topics:

Internet Safety

Because most internet users are masked by anonymity, it can create a dangerous environment for students who aren’t prepared.
When teaching online safety, it’s important to make it clear that students should never arrange to meet someone they’ve only known online without asking a parent first, and that they should never exchange personal info, or trust anything that an online-only friend tells them.
In addition, students should be wary at all times and pull back from any situations that online friends put them in any time that something doesn’t feel quite right or seems suspicious.

Privacy & Security

Helping students to develop the skills needed to maintain their privacy and safety on the internet will lay a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. Our best tips for protecting student privacy and security online are:
• Never give out personal information such as your full name, phone number, address, or passwords
• Passwords should be more than eight characters to make them difficult for hackers to crack
• Passwords should never contain any personal information such as name, birthdate, or your current city
• Ask a teacher or parent for permission before downloading a file or creating an account on any site

Cyberbullying

With incidents of cyberbullying on the rise, it is crucial for students to be taught about this dangerous practice that’s causing stress, and even leading to injuries, depression and in extreme cases, suicides.
Things that all students should consider before participating in online discussions include:
• How to think through what they post about other people on the internet to determine what the consequences of making those posts may be (especially if post content could be interpreted to be malicious or mean, even if that’s not their intention)
• Speaking up and notifying an authority figure (parent or teacher) if they or someone they know is being bullied online
• To be able to identify, respond to, and limit the negative impact of cyberbullying with positive behaviors, like conflict resolution, changing topics, etc.

Copyright & Creative Credit

Nowadays, students are able to find, use, and distribute digital content with such ease that it can lead to them using material without giving much thought as to who owns it or where it comes from. This “free-for-all” type of environment can result in problems of plagiarism, piracy, copyright infringement, and a serious disservice to the creativity and hard work of others.
Therefore, any curriculum on copyright and creative credit should teach students about the rights to copyrighted work, including topics like how to identify work that is copyrighted, how to use copyrighted work through fair use, what counts as plagiarism, what counts as piracy, how plagiarism and piracy can impact content creators, and what the consequences of performing plagiarism or piracy can look like.

Online Reputation

It’s important for students to realize that anything posted online can stay there forever and that every post becomes part of someone’s online reputation or digital footprint.
Equally important is that students understand how the footprint they’re leaving online can come back to harm them in the future, having a negative impact on their lives. A golden rule students can follow is to avoid posting anything online that you wouldn’t want your teachers, family, friends, and future employers to see.

Making Friends Online

Because students have access to the internet virtually everywhere they go, it becomes easy to bridge the gap between two strangers across the globe and form relationships. Unfortunately, as most people know, it can be dangerous for students of any age to make friends with strangers online. As a rule of thumb, students should be taught not to add people as online friends unless they have their parent’s permission or they know them in real life.
Furthermore, students should also be aware that they can’t trust everything an online friend tells them, and that they need to disengage or seek the assistance of an authority figure any time that they become uncomfortable, scared, or intimidated by something an online friend (or stranger!) tells them.

Contact Mount Dora Christian Academy Today!

With the many risks that lurk in the online world, the importance of cyber ethics cannot be understated.
Teaching students how to navigate the internet in a safe and responsible manner is important to everyone at Mount Dora Christian Academy, which is why we offer our class on Digital Citizenship to all students.
If you have any questions about this program or anything else happening at Mount Dora, free to contact us or request more info and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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