12 Great Lesson Plans for Internet Safety

Common Sense Education Article by: Erin Wilkey Oh, Executive Editor

Help kids practice smart internet habits and stay safe online.

Educators’ approach to internet safety in the classroom has changed as the technology and our use of it continues to evolve. In the past, digital citizenship lessons on internet safety focused more on dos and don’ts, like do create safe passwords and don’t talk to strangers online. While secure passwords are certainly important for technology users of all ages, and stranger danger is nothing to take lightly, most internet safety dilemmas are much more nuanced.

The best internet safety lessons recognize the complexity of these topics and help students build the critical-thinking skills and habits of mind to navigate the dilemmas they encounter. Below are the best internet safety lesson plans for students in grades 3–8. Lessons for K–2 and 9–12 are coming in August 2019. See the Common Sense K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum for lesson plans on additional digital citizenship topics.

3rd Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

Password Power-Up

How can a strong password help protect your privacy?
Stronger, more secure online passwords are a good idea for everyone. But how can we help kids create better passwords and actually remember them? Use the tips in this lesson to help kids make passwords that are both secure and memorable.

Digital Citizenship Pledge

What makes a strong online community?
Belonging to various communities is important for kids’ development. But some online communities can be healthier than others. Show your students how they can strengthen both online and in-person communities by creating norms that everyone pledges to uphold.

4th Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

Private and Personal Information

What information about you is OK to share online?
It’s in our students’ nature to share and connect with others. But sharing online comes with some risks. How can we help kids build strong, positive, and safe relationships online? Help your students learn the difference between what’s personal and what’s best left private.

Keeping Games Fun and Friendly

How can I be positive and have fun while playing online games, and help others do the same?
Social interaction is part of what makes online gaming so popular and engaging for kids. Of course, online communication can come with some risks. Show your students how to keep their gaming experiences fun, healthy, and positive.

5th Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

You Won’t Believe This!

What is clickbait and how can you avoid it?
The internet is full of catchy headlines and outrageous images, all to make us curious and get our attention. But kids don’t usually realize: What you click on isn’t always what you get. Show your students the best ways to avoid clickbait online.

Digital Friendships

How do you keep online friendships safe?
Kids make friends everywhere they go — including online. But are all of these friendships the same? How can kids start online friendships and also learn ways to stay safe? Help your students understand both the benefits and the risks of online-only friendships.

6th Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

Don’t Feed the Phish

How can you protect yourself from phishing?
Internet scams are part of being online today, but many kids might not be aware of them. How do we help our students avoid being tricked into clicking malicious links or giving out private information? Use this lesson to help kids avoid online identity theft and phishing schemes.

Chatting Safely Online

How do you chat safely with people you meet online?
Games, social media, and other online spaces give kids opportunities to meet and chat with others outside the confines of their real-life communities. But how well do kids actually know the people they’re meeting and interacting with? Help students consider whom they’re talking to and the types of information they’re sharing online.

7th Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

Big, Big Data

How do companies collect and use data about you?
Every time we go online, we’re giving away information about ourselves. But just how much data are companies collecting from us? Hint: It’s probably a lot more than we realize. Show your students these three tips on how to limit the data that companies collect.

My Social Media Life

How does social media affect our relationships?
For most middle-schoolers, being on social media can mean connecting with friends, sharing pictures, and keeping up to date. But it can also mean big-time distractions, social pressures, and more. Help students navigate the different feelings they may already be experiencing on social media.

8th Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

 

Being Aware of What You Share

How can you protect your privacy when you’re online?
Kids share a lot of information whenever they go online — sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. But do they understand that online privacy isn’t just what they say and post? Help your students learn about their digital footprints and the steps they can take to shape what others find and see about them.

Sexting and Relationships

What are the risks and potential consequences of sexting?
It’s natural for teens to be curious about their emerging sexuality. But most middle-schoolers aren’t prepared for the risks of exploring this in the digital age. Help students think critically about self-disclosure in relationships and practice how they’d respond to a situation where sexting — or a request for sexting — might happen.

Looking for Professional Development?

ILTPP is a program of the Learning Technology Center (LTC), an Illinois State Board of Education organization that supports all public K-12 districts, schools, and educators through technology initiatives, services, and professional learning opportunities that further four main focus areas: digital teaching, learning, and leadership; network and technology infrastructure; student data security and safety; and equity and access. The LTC’s goal is to maximize school districts’ access to technology and enhance districts’ use of technology to improve educational opportunities for the students of Illinois. One of the ways in which the LTC increases “access” is by increasing affordability through ILTPP. More information about the LTC is available at ltcillinois.org.

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