With all the bad stuff that’s on the internet, it’s important to give children tools to help them make wise decisions when they go online.
Commonsense Media has excellent lessons for all ages that cover digital safety and literacy. With our first graders, I used Going Places Safely designed for grades K-2. We talked about going places around town – Do you get permission? When you are shopping with your parents, do they allow you to run off and go wherever you want? Do you talk to strangers? What do you do if a stranger asks your name or where you live? We compared this to being safe while online; that we have to follow similar rules.
Next, I told the children that we were going on digital field trips. That got their attention! We searched for the locations on a globe. One little girl asked, “Are we really going there today?” I chose three websites to share with the students:
For about 15 minutes or so, the students explored the sites. They were truly fascinated with the animal videos from the San Diego Zoo. The fact that they were watching in real time was baffling as well as exciting! I wasn’t sure what they would think of the other two sites but they enjoyed those, too. Both were virtual tours and the children spent a lot of time moving the arrows to discover new paths or exhibits.
After exploring the websites, students were given a worksheet that’s included in the lesson. They chose their favorite place that was visited and illustrated that. We then discussed their favorites and why they chose what they did. Before leaving, we also discussed the importance of following some rules to keep safe while on the internet:
- Always ask your parent or teacher first.
- Only talk to people you know.
- Stick to places that are just right for you!