Walking Safely Along the Digital Highway – resources to help teach Digital Literacy and e-Safety

There are many resources available to help support schools to teach pupils to be responsible users of the Internet and to educate pupils to be as safe as possible when using online tools.  Helping learners learn in a global, connected classroom is not something which is just nice to do, it’s essential. In an ever-changing technological arena it’s important that supporting learning in digital citizenship is accepted as the responsibility of everyone, and an onging process, not an “event” to just happen once, like a vaccination. And of course that then requires a range of resources for supporting teaching digital citizenship, to help learners be citizens in a connected world, so that the resources are age-appropriate, reinforce and build on prior learning and experience, and support differing audiences and contexts. So here are some resources to support teaching digital literacy:

Five-minute Film Festival – Teaching Digital Citizenship – a playlist of short films which set the context of teaching digital citizenship in an educational context, beginning with a video setting all others in an overview of the different aspects of digital citizenship. Each introduces a specific topic and usually links to associated resources material. The playlist brings together videos on the various topic from different sources and makes an excellent introduction to the topic of teaching digital citizenship, providing statistics, background information and advice in short nugget-sized visually-engaging videos. This includes links to the CommonSense Education Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum which has hosts of resources for use either online or in print form grouped according to age and topic (covering 1. Internet Safety, 2. Privacy & Security, 3. Relationships & Communication, 4. Cyberbullying, 5. Digital reputation & Footprint, 6. Self-image & Identity, 7. Information Literacy, 8. Creative Credit & Copyright.

Even Our Youngest Students Need Digital Citizenship Skills – a blogpost by Kathy Cassidy setting out why even the youngest learners nead to be supported in learning about how to be safe online, and guidance about what that support might look like in the context of young learners.

Who should teach kids internet safety? – this is an article by Katie Kenny reporting on a survey in July 2014 by AVG technologies of school internet use in New Zealand. This provides a picture of the current state of play in one education system to help highlight where support and resources may be directed.

Social Media websites of which every parent should be aware, listed and described along with a guide to issues each site may present.

15 apps and sites kids are heading to beyond Facebook – a post by Kelly Schryver on the Common Sense media site which lists online tools or mobile apps which children and young people may be using in addition to, or instead of, Facebook. Each tool is described and pointers for parents and educators about the issues which may need to be borne in mind in relation to each tool or app.

Edutopia Cyberbullying & Internet Digital Citizenship a range of resources to support teaching about how to deal with issues around using social media by pupils.

Blog-posting about internet filtering in schools – the background to why and how web filtering happens in schools, from a school, local authority and national perspective.

Guide to Internet Filtering in School by Alan Mackenzie (the E-safety Advisor) is a description of the reasons for school internet filtering, the mechanics of how decisions are taken as to what is filtered and in what ways, and the decision-making processes employed by staff at various levels.

Google’s Be Internet Legends – aims to help empower children to be safe and confident explorers of the online world. There are online games, resources for teachers and guides for parents/carers. The Interland game encourages children to become Internet Legends in Interland, an “online adventure which teaches the key lessons of internet safety through four fun, challenging games.”

Tips for Teachers on Staying Safe in Social Networking Sites – from Association of American Educators Articles often appear in the media about the dangers of social networking sites to professionals, and particularly to teachers. This site provides practical solutions – general and school specific tips to consider as teachers assess their own online profiles.

Netsmartz NSTeens Social Networking safety videos for older pupils these resources are designed to help empower children and young people to make safer online choices through lessons taught in a series of videos highlighting the Internet-related adventures of a diverse cast of teenagers. Educators may reinforce the videos’ safety lessons through the use of accompanying activity cards.  The site also houses real-life stories videos—a series of narratives from teens about real experiences of online situations. Each of the videos is accompanied by an activity card to facilitate student discussion and understanding. These materials are suggested for those aged 11 and above.

NetsmartztipsheetsNetSmartz Tip Sheets – a host of tip sheets on a variety of online safety which can be either read online or printed, or shared with others, covering different age groups, gaming, social media, mobile phones, evaluating internet sources, cybersecurity, cyberbullying, and communication online.

Common Sense Media Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum A series of detailed lessons for all ages of learners covering various aspects of using online spaces effectively and safely. These lessons cover media balance and wellbeing, privacy and security, digital footprint and identity, relationships and communication, cyberbullying, digital drama and hate speech, news and media literacy, copyright, searching techniques, evaluating websites and more.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship from the South West Grid for Learning, UK Safer Internet Centre and Common Sense Media – resources adapted for the UK from Common Sense Media curriculum. Activities, lessons, resources and more in categories according to age group providing a progression by age and stage. “These free materials are designed to empower pupils and students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Find the lessons that are just right for your classroom. Browse by Stage or Year Group, for cross-curricular lessons which address digital literacy and citizenship topics in an age-appropriate way.”

Garfield Comic character on Internet Safety a series of interactive, animated lessons using the character of Professor Garfield to provide these first lessons on Internet safety along with guidance for students, teachers, and parents.

Cyber-Safety Video a blog posting and associated video highlighing for children aged 8-10 the dangers of social networking.

Choose What Happens next – Richard Byrne has linked to this series of videos on YouTube which have been linked together, with the sequence of videos depending on choices that viewers make. This aims to show what can happen when inappropriate choices are made, and also demonstrates the YouTube tools which enable links to different videos depending on a viewer choice by clicking onto a button on the video itself. Richard Byrne has also produced a tutorial to how to use these features of YouTube should you wish pupils to make similar videos to illustrate choices they make and the consequences.

Better Internet for Kids – along with #SaferInternet4U – European Commission’s online portal to create a better internet for children and young people through the exchange of knowledge, expertise, resources and best practices between key online safety stakeholders, including industry, in order to increase access to high-quality content for children and young people, step up awareness and empowerment, create a safe environment for children online, and fight against child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation. Look here for a host of resources from around Europe, including co-ordination of the annual Safer Internet Day activities.

HTML Heroes – from WebWise.ie, the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre – HTML Heroes is specifically designed for primary school teachers when teaching children aged 7-10 about the safe and responsible uses of the Internet as part of Social, Personal and Health Education. This focuses on skills needed for browsing the web such as effective and safe searching, determining what online content can be trusted and managing screen time, safely and effectively communicate online, dealing with issues relating to sharing personal information online, treating others with respect, and gaming online.

Do I share a photograph of my friend…..? is a poster (from Common Sense Media) aimed at pupils to help them consider the issues involved before sharing online any photographs they take. This is presented as a series of yes/no questions in a flow-chart to help children/young people reflect on the issues of sharing digital images anywhere online.

11 E-safety resources for pupils, teachers and parents – shard by Richard Byrne

www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ – ThinkUKnow resources are aimed at different age groups and with materials for parents/carers and teachers. Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. Explore one of the six Thinkuknow websites for advice about staying safe when you’re on a phone, tablet or computer. Here you will find advice, get help and be able to report online content or activity.

360 degree E-Safety School Review Tool – from SWGfL – and 360 degree online safety review tool for Scotland – safe is free to use, and is intended to help schools review their Online Safety policy and practice, walking the school through each aspect of Online Safety, to collaborate, report, and progress. This online tool provides information that can influence the production or review of online safety policies and develop good practice; provides a process for identifying strengths and weaknesses; provides opportunities for commitment and involvement from the whole school; and provides a continuum for schools to discuss how they might move from a basic level provision for online safety to practice that is aspirational and innovative. Click here for the version for schools in Scotland https://360safescotland.org.uk/. lick on this link for the pdf format of the review documentation 360 degree esafety audit – document version with all levels with descriptions

29 Steps to Internet Safety for Kids is a post on the Ask a Tech Teacher site by Jacqui Murray of a list by Deb Ng on advice about steps to take for all online.

Words NOT to live by – a post by Anthony Salcito of Microsoft in which is shared a visual infographic poster (from Gaggle.net) illustrating the words which are entered by learners which are highlighted as concerning by filters. This provides statistical information about frequency of such words and times of occurrence related to times of year and day. This provides food for thought for educators and the poster thus encourages and provides pointers for need for specific digital citizenship teaching.

Microsoft Digital Skills – Microsoft has produced  range of resources to support users to be safer online. Microsoft Digital Skills Online Safety Resources – links to a variety of online advice including Resources for home: Top tips for internet safety at home; Digital citizenship begins with you;How dangerous is the online world? myth vs. fact; Top tips for online safety PowerPoint presentation (for parents); Stay sharp on internet safety at home; Defending your computer to keep it free of viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, plus how to avoid being tricked into downloading them in the first place; Protecting yourself from identity theft online; Protecting yourself from phishing scams; Protecting your privacy online; Protecting your information on the go; Making safer financial transactions online; and Online fraud: Your guide to prevention, detection, and recovery. In addition there is a host of information for parents/carers and educators to support children and young people online. Be Awesome Online and in Real Life – this provides research and statistics as well as advice about why and how to pay attention to your online persona and take steps to ensure a positive persona— both personally and professionally. Online Safety Tips for Educators, Parents and Students – as part of the Microsoft Educators Community this provides educators with resources which they can share in educating students about online safety in today’s world. There is a free online Digital Citizenship course on the Microsoft Educators Community aimed at educators. This has a wide range of resources, videos, PowerPoint presentations, documents, handouts, and OneNote Notebook. This is an interactive course – successfully complete this to gain a certificate and digital badge. The Digital Citizenship course covers the Three Pillars of Digital Citizenship: DIGITAL LITERACY (those who are literate in the online world are better prepared to avoid risky situations, make better-informed decisions, and better understand how to maintain their privacy); DIGITAL CIVILITY (Internet users should demonstrate respect for others—behaving with civility and being protective of everyone’s rights (their own included). They should learn and apply the skills to behave ethically and within online social norms) and INFORMATION LITERACY (the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from the Internet to complete a task, answer a question, or research a topic). There is a free Digital Literacy Course which is open to anyone with basic reading skills – the Digital Literacy Course is for anyone with basic reading skills who wants to learn the fundamentals of using digital technologies. The curriculum is written at a reading level like that of most newspapers around the world. Learners who complete the curriculum will understand basic computing concepts and skills, and will be able to get a certificate in recognition of successful completion.

From the iLearn Blog http://t.co/nXhLLC3 comes the links to create online fake social media pages Fakebook and Twister created by @russeltarr to teach about the use of Facebook and Twitter. Use them by getting the pupils to create fictional pages for historical characters or create fictional characters in creative writing.  While there is then the curricular purpose with a creative tool there is also the opportunity to reinforce the message about safe use of social networking tools. Further tools for teaching about safer use of social networking tools like Facebook while also teaching about historical figures can be found on Richard Byrne’s blogpost here

4 Ways the Internet Makes Kids Smarter – an infographic poster which presents information from various research sources about the impact of children using online tools, as well as a section on e-safety tips.

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-internet-safety-games-kids-cyber-smart/ From the MakeUseOf site comes a collection of 6 Internet Safety Games To Help Kids Become Cyber Smart: Webonauts Internet Academy – about the rules of web safety and digital citizenship where children have to complete a series of missions in order to graduate from the Webonauts Internet Academy. The lessons follow the motto – Observe, Respect, and Contribute. Safety Land – is a game about battling a villain who is spamming people with messages. Internet Safety Hangman – where the clues all relate to cyber rules you should remember and follow. Iggey and Rasper’s Internet Safety Game – is about net etiquette for kids. Anti-Phishing Phil – is a game about phishing scams on the internet. OnGuard Online – covers spyware detection to wireless security.

Google Alerts – In order to keep be kept aware of how you or your school are mentioned online a free tool which can be used to send automated e-mails to you is Google Alert.  Setting up a Google Alert for the school’s name and for individuals to  consider doing the same for themselves at http://www.google.com/alerts means an email (or a feed) can provide information of when the name is mentioned online.

That’s Not Cool http://www.thatsnotcool.com/ – this US site is aimed at teenagers specifically to help them work out what’s acceptable to them and what is not, and courses of action for when someone pressures or disrespects them online or via mobile ‘phone. That’s Not Cool uses digital examples of controlling, pressuring and threatening behaviour and provides strategies for dealing with them.

ThinkB4UClick – downloadable lessons/activities from webwise.ie in Ireland with prompts for discussion about a range of online activities.

Should you post a selfie – slightly light-hearted flowchart visual infographic poster which leads learners through a thinking process before considering posting a selfie (a photograph in which the photographer themselves appear) online anywhere. It may be helpful as a discussion starter for a class to consider what their actions would be.

E-Safety Live are events bringing online safety providers, experts and industry leaders together to share information and resources on the latest online safety topics with education practitioners in the UK to better help safeguard children, as well as professionals, when online. Workshops by organisations such as Facebook, Vodafone, Xbox (Microsoft) and CEOP can be attended throughout the day as well as opportunities to get those burning questions answered by knowledgeable professionals.

Ask a Tech teacher – Teaching e-safety – this post by Jacqui Murray is a description of the resources used at each year stage of primary school in one school, explaining what concepts are introduced at specific age-groups and resources they use to support them.

10 Great Digital Citizenship lessons from Google – 10 interactive lessons based on the use of YouTube  along with accompanying lesson plans for teachers. These videos present different issues related to the use of YouTube (but which could equally apply to the use of many other online tools or social media tools). These videos and teacher notes cover the following areas: Detecting Lies; Safety Mode; Online Reputation and Cyberbullying; Policy – The Community Guidelines; Reporting content – Flagging; Privacy; and Copyright.

An e-safety-wise school – an article by RM esafety consultant Hilary Wright about steps schools can take to ensure the school community is as e-safety-wise as possible. This includes the filtering and reporting but more importantly about education of everyone, staff, pupils and parents.

Digital Literacy Resources collated by Mark Anderson – a Pinterest board which educator Mark Anderson uses to collate and share resources to support teaching digital literacy.

Hoax or No Hoax –  a series of resources linked with pupil classroom activities on the  Read, Write, Think site which set the task to pupils of using various techniques to determine whether a range of online sites are providing reliable information or are spoof sites.

Oversharing – think before you post – a rap-style video by Flocabulary taking learners through the pitfalls of posting something on social media or elsewhere online without thinking about consequences. The video is accompanied by the full text of the rap, as well as interactive activities for use with a class (fill in the gaps and a quiz). The Flocabulary site is a subscription service.

Six-year-olds understand digital technology better than adults – a controversial headline for a survey which was carried out about the use of technology by young children and adults. More importantly than any conclusion that younger children are better equipped to use technology than adults there is a condensed version of the survey which anyone can use which lets anyone look at the questions and crucially see support for how to be better informed about areas where knowledge, skills or experience are not as good as educators or parents/carers would want for themselves.

Joan Walker has used Scoop.it to collate resources as they become available on the topic of E-safety and e-safeguarding. This therefore can be handy to see new materials appear which have been tagged with either term.

Parenting Across Scotland: Children and teenagers’ Online Safety – advice, tips, guidance and resources for parents to support their children using online spaces and tools.

What do pupils need to know about digital citizenship – an article by Vicki Davis which sets out the essential categories of skills and information learners need to know in order to keep themselves, and those around them, safe and and to be able to make best use of online tools and resources.

InternetSafetyCheatSheetInternet Safety Cheat-Sheet for Parents – provides a useful infographic poster describing helpful hints for settings which parents can apply to online tools and services which their children may access, which can help protect them from inappropriate content, whether it’s Netflix, YouTube, Google searching, mobile device or the home wireless hub.

webwisewhatisInternet Matters Parents’ Guide to Apps – what are these social media tools and how can a user keep safer using them? – this site provides a host of explainers about many online tools which are in use, how they are used, and how to avoid the risks which can arise. So find out about ooVoo, Periscope, BBM, Tinder, Yik Yak, Viber, WhatsApp, SnapChat and a host of tools.

DigitalClassroomsE-SafetyCurriculumE-Safety – a New Curriculum? – an example from Rebecca Stacey, a headteacher in a primary school in Cumbria, of how e-safety is tackled at each stage in her primary school, with resources and activities matched to each stage, and suggestions for incorporating e-safety teaching into other areas of the curriculum. As well as the description there is a downloadable document here: http://www.digitalclassrooms.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Internet-Safety-through-the-Year-Groups.pdf

Protecting Children’s Privacy – A Guide for Parents, Carers and EducatorsComparitechprivacy – a post by Paul Bischoff on the Comparitech site which sets out the concerns expressed by many parents and carers about the safety of their children online, and provides guidance, tips and advice about what parents can carers can do, including the nature of conversations with their children and practical steps which children and their parents and carers can take to adjust privacy settings in commonly used social media tools such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. It also describes the steps to take on settings in mobile devices, as well as Internet browsers, and more, all designed to help children and their parents and carers be more in control of the information they share.

Maryville University’s guide to “What Is Cyberbullying? An Overview for Students, Parents, and Teachers” – provides information on cyberbullying in general, how to spot it, with advice about how to deal with it. The guide helpfully lists the terms used to describe a host of different forms of online bullying (such as harassment, masquerading, cyberstalking, exclusion, outing and fraping), describes each and provides guidance about what to do to deal with each. The guide also provides information for parents/carers and teachers to help to identify signs which might suggest when someone is being cyberbullied, or indeed when a young person in their care may be cyberbullying someone else – with guidance about how to deal with these situations.

Meet the Unsung and Gripping Cybersecurity story – information about the need for cybersecurity tools, presented in a graphic-novel style using Microsoft Sway. This explains through story-telling in a comic style about the need for measures to be taken by organisations, businesses, governments and individuals in their own homes and on mobile devices to protect data online.

Emergency Internet Safety for Kids – a helpful post by Danielle Ricci on the AlertFind Emergency Preparedness site (with grateful thanks to Bella DeCesare for passing on the link to this resource). The post brings together a series of resources, from a variety of sources, under each category: Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, Social Media Safety, and Viruses. The links are to helpful resources related to each category, with some links for parents/carers/educators and some specifically for children/young people/students themselves.

BBC Own It – a fabulous online wellbeing platform for children. The Own It site encourages children and young people to “Be the Boss of your Online Life” through videos, games, quizzes and information. Aimed at children and young people themselves, this site has many contributors who will be known to them, including YouTubers, vloggers, television personalities and gamers. The site has different sections, one is aimed at developing skills in vlogging, gaming and creating (whether that’s in skills for making music, writing, photography, video, gaming or more), there’s explanations of words associated with the online world explained by children/young people to adults, there’s a host of video interviews with a range of young people about how to deal with a host of issues which children/young people may come across online, and there are links to a host of places where help can be found if needed.

How to protect your children on smartphone – advice by Chris Hauk guide to offer parents/carers advice and practical suggestions about safer smartphone use for their children.

Norton Cyber Safety for Kids – on the site of the providers of a range of digital security and safety products this page provides a variety of articles relating to internet safety, cyberbullying prevention, protecting against smart toy vulnerabilities, monitoring screen time, safe gaming, netiquette, mobile phone safety, parental controls and digital privacy.

Social Media test Drive  –  short interactive social media scenarios which can be used with learners individually or as a class lesson where learners try to predict what might happen if they click on each element. Covers “How to be an upstander” (dealing with cyberbullying), “Is it private information?”, Shaping your digital footprint”, “Online Identities”, “Social Media Privacy” and “News in social media.”

An important element of making use of digital technology across a school community is to have in place an online safety/Acceptable Use Policy. Schools which are part of Local Authorities will likely have an authority-wide Online Safety/Acceptable Use Policy to adopt and implement. However if your school is not in that situation then you may find helpful the LGfLDigiSafe online safety/AUP templates site.


  1. Morag Carson says:

    These will be useful resources. I really want to make more of this next session.

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