Internet Safety for High School Students

Written By Trent Lorcher

Internet safety for high school students is a top priority for students, parents and educators. It wasn’t long ago that individuals went to the library or asked a teacher for information, could only watch TV shows at a specific time on a specific day, and bought music at a record store. This was before the internet made so many things obsolete and the acquisition of information so easy. With these benefits, however, come responsibility and a bit of danger.

That’s why it’s important for high school students to familiarize themselves with internet safety. The following information can be shared to students so they understand the harmful effects of the internet.

Internet Safety for High School Students

Everyone loves the internet, especially hackers, scammers, and crooks.

Think before you post. Communication happens so fast that often we develop the habit of posting without thinking. Here are things you might want to think about before you post on social media or send in a text or email.

Identity Theft

Identity theft involves using someone else’s personal identification information for financial gain. It’s something adults think about frequently online, but teenagers do not. Online scammers use fraudulent pop-ups to trick web surfers into giving identifying information. Common targets for scammers include social security numbers and account ids and passwords.  Never give this information in an email or an online advertisement.

Sometimes online scammers don’t need to go ‘phishing’ for information. They can find it by reading your posts. Don’t share information on social media that would give scammers or non-scammers personal identifying information. You never know who’s going to see that post.

Personal Safety

It’s scary that individuals can turn something harmless into something dangerous, but that’s what happens with social media status posts. Many high school students (and non-high school students) post their status and whereabouts via social media. This could end badly. Anyone seeing those posts know exactly where to find you and when. Be careful with status updates and find alternative ways to let your friends know where you are without alerting potential threats.

If you want others to know where you have been, post the location after you leave. You can also limit who sees status updates on different social media platforms. Before adding individuals to social media accounts, make sure you know them and make sure those seeking your “friendship” are who they say they are.

Bullying

The internet has brought forth many wonderful innovations for education and for high school students. It has also brought forth myriad issues involving safety, the most prominent and headline-grabbing being bullying. Bullying is nothing new for high schools. It’s something parents, teachers, and students have had to deal with for decades. Cyberbullying, unfortunately, has taken this scourge to the next level and has become perhaps the single biggest challenge to internet safety for high school students.

Cyber-bullying takes the form of threats, rumor spreading, unauthorized video posting, flaming and trolling, and editing items to make others look bad. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone at any time. If you are a victim of cyberbullying, it’s important to notify a trusted adult. Schools take cyberbullying very seriously and have led the charge against this form of bullying. Although not all cyberbullying can be prevented, you can take steps to prevent it by carefully guarding who you allow access to online.

Internet Safety for High Schools Checklist

The following guidelines provide a foundation for internet safety. This can be shared on a flyer among classrooms to ensure they understand the consequences of internet safety :

  1. Think before you post. Assume that anyone can read what you put online. Do you really want everyone to see that picture, that video, that post. What if a potential employer reads this post? And trust me, employers research you online.

  2. Don’t include personal identifying information. Your personal information is valuable. Some want it for legitimate reasons. Many do not. Don’t ever post confidential information, such as social security numbers or account passwords.

  3. Respect other people online. Don’t become part of the problem. What you think is a joke might be interpreted differently by others.

  4. Be very cautious when meeting someone you’ve met online. When meeting someone you’ve met online, be very careful. Never show up alone and meet in public.

A Word on X Rated Content

A discussion on internet safety for high school students must include a discussion about x rated content. Some teens think it’s a good idea to send seductive photos to boyfriends or girlfriends or to post racy photos on social media. We need to teach students to be cognizant about how permanent the internet is and be aware of the multitude of apps they use over the internet.  A photo you email to someone in Arkansas, for example, can make its way around the world in a matter of minutes.

Often an innocent internet searcher is bombarded by unwanted pornographic images. These sites, in addition to proliferating filth, often include ads and pop-ups that will infect your computer and give criminals and scumbags access to your personal information. This is a billion-dollar industry that preys on young adults. There are a plethora of pop-up blockers and internet security programs that combat these unwanted internet predators.

Internet safety begins with you. You are responsible for what you post and what you view.

 

 

 

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About the author

Trent Lorcher has taught high school English for 19 years. In addition to hosting a foreign exchange student from China, he's traveled extensively, including 18 months in Central America, 2 years in Italy, and additional time in Mexico, France, Morocco, and Spain. He dreams of one day retiring to Spain with his beautiful bride in a place big enough for their 5 kids to visit.

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