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Internet Safety

Talking Points

Elementary Students

  • Just like in “real life,” never interact with people on the internet that you don’t know.
  • When on the internet, never give out private information. If asked for it, talk to a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult. Private information includes full name, age, address, telephone number, email addresses of family members, school and after school information, and parent work information.
  • Usernames and passwords should not have personal information. See links and resources below for information for creating usernames and effective passwords.
  • Students with email accounts need to be aware of spam. Spam is unwanted email that the person receiving it did not ask for. Spam has different forms, but will always try to get the recipient to provide private information.
  • Emails that are too good to be true are often spam. For example, an email from someone the student doesn’t know claiming they won a prize and just need to enter private information to claim it is spam.

Secondary Students

  • Online scams can lead to identify theft. Identity theft can ruin young peoples’ financial futures and make it difficult to get loans (like student loans for college). Never give private information out unless it’s to a trusted source. Private information for older students to consider includes driver’s license number, city of birth, account numbers, passwords, and social security number.
  • Begin reading and learning about website privacy terms. Websites are required to post privacy policies, and young adults should read over the policies for the websites and social media platforms they use often, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Commercial websites often use “cookies” to track information about people who visit the site. Cookies are small computer files placed in computers by the website. Some sites will use the information gathered from the cookies to sell to other companies and agencies. Many websites give options to users about what they do with the information they collect. If the website does not, students should consider not going back to the website.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software on computers.
  • Be careful about downloading free music, games, and software. These could very easily contain viruses and programs to steal information from your computer.

Tips for Strong Passwords

  • Have a different password for each site that requires it. If you only have one common password, then someone could access all of your accounts if they get it.
  • Change passwords often (every few months).
    Do not leave them out for others to see, and do not share them.
  • Avoid common information/words in passwords. In order to be strong, passwords should be unique and not linked to personal information that a hacker could easily identify.
  • Strong passwords have a mix of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. They should be at least 8 characters long and as random as possible.
  • Other password tips: spell a word backwards; substitute numbers or characters for letters (3 for e, ! for l, etc.); randomly capitalize letters; include special characters.
  • There are online password generators that will create passwords, as well as test the strength of passwords you’ve created.
  • For staff: no passwords on Post-It notes
  • For staff: no password lists on desks