Cybersafety

Staying safe in a digital world

Our online and mobile activities are just a normal part of life. But, the powerful technology that fills both our schools and homes comes with some potential dangers.

Having unlimited access to information and people may result in increased knowledge and great experiences. But it can also lead to inappropriate content and exposure to risks. We want students to make good decisions in the digital world to protect their safety, personal information and reputation.

What is the district doing?

Internet filters within our district protect from inappropriate material online. Several policies are also in place to address online safety and security, as well as rules for technology use. Cybersafety instruction is integrated into classroom lessons, library activities and counseling sessions and is an important part of the Ready 1:1 program.

Cyberbullying

32 percent of online teens have been bullied or harassed.

Cyberbullying happens when a student is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child or teen using the internet, interactive and digital technologies, or mobile phones.

Cyberbullying can lead to low self-esteem, and victims may feel scared, frustrated, humiliated, angry or depressed. They may become isolated, withdrawn, nervous and even suicidal.

Examples of cyberbullying

  • Sending someone mean or threatening emails, messages or texts

  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others

  • Breaking into someone's account to send cruel or untrue messages or make posts pretending to be that person

  • Creating websites or pages to make fun of another person

Our cyberbullying policy

We do not tolerate bullying in our district and that includes cyberbullying. If you believe you are being cyberbullied or know someone who is, please talk to your teacher, school counselor, principal or any district employee as soon as possible to get assistance and intervention.

See our bullying page for more information about the bullying investigation process.

Digital citizenship

Digital life is both public and permanent. Everything we do online creates “digital footprints” or digital tattoos that don’t fade away. An inappropriate picture or angry post can end up hurting your reputation and impacting your future. Colleges now check the social media accounts of potential students and employers are doing the same for job applicants. Even if you reconsider and delete something you posted, it can still resurface later if it was copied, shared or archived. This is why it is crucial that we act as good digital citizens.

What is a digital citizen?

A good citizen is honest, compassionate, responsible and respects others and their property. A digital citizen, has these same characteristics offline and online. A digital citizen is someone who navigates the digital world safely, responsibly and respectfully. They know right from wrong and makes good choices when using technology.

A good digital citizen:

  • Uses technology to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways.
  • Thinks before posting and keeps their digital footprint in mind.
  • Respects privacy and freedom of speech.
  • Treats others courteously and considers their point of views.
  • Creates secure passwords that aren’t shared with others.
  • Protects private information.
  • Understands copyright and respects others’ intellectual property.
  • Protects their devices from viruses, malware, etc., and takes steps to prevent identity theft.
  • Abides by website and app age-restrictions and terms of use
  • Uses privacy settings on social network pages.

Social media and apps

80 percent of online teens use social media sites.
There are typically some positive and negative aspects to using every app. When trying to decide which ones to use on your devices, think about whether the positives outweighs the negatives. Also consider how you can avoid some of the negatives by being smart about your use.
 

Understanding the potential risks associated with popular types of apps will help you use them wisely and safely. Keep in mind that:

  • Temporary message and photos apps can be misleading; the receiver can often capture these messages and photos and share with others
  • Geo-location apps that reveal your location can lead to stalking or be used by sexual predators
  • Anonymous apps and sites are often riddled with inappropriate content and can encourage bullying behavior

Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about what apps are allowed and monitor their use. Many apps have age restrictions or age recommendations. Read over the terms of use to help you make the best decisions for your family.

Parent resources

Common Sense Media offers many resources to help parents learn about the latest apps and websites. They also provide tips for keeping online interactions safe, productive and positive.

Parent Concerns: Social Media

Snapchat, Kik, and 6 more iffy messaging apps teens love

Playlist of videos explaining popular social media (Snapchat, Kik, Instagram, Vine, Twitter & Tumblr)

17 apps and websites kids are heading to after Facebook

Safe gaming

59 percent of teens who play video games use voice chat.

Many games are played online against other players, whether on a console, computer, mobile device or social networking site. Players often chat via microphone, headset or messaging.

Online gaming can be very competitive and sometimes leads to inappropriate language and harassment.

There can also be hidden risks in downloading and playing web and app-based games. Some apps claim to be free but disguise charges in upgrades for in-game features. And if you’re not downloading from reputable sources you could end up downloading a virus or being scammed.

Keep in mind that many app-based games include a social aspect as well. Some game apps will match you up to play against other users you may not know and allow you to chat with them. Other games will share your progress on your Facebook feed.

Featured resources

Common Sense Media

We partnered with Common Sense Media to educate our students, parents, and educators about the importance of cybersafety. All the family tip sheets and many of the resources on our cybersafety page are provided by them.

We invite parents to explore their website to find even more great resources. There is an in-depth parenting concerns section that includes FAQs, articles and videos about a variety of topics relating to the use of technology and online safety.

Consider using their age-specific templates to help you create a family media agreement. It is a great way to start a conversation about internet safety and decide on consequences as a family.

NetsSmartz Workshop

NetSmartz Workshop has videos, games, activity cards and presentations that provide age-appropriate resources to help teach children aged 5-17 how to be safer on and offline.

Atomic Learning

Online tutorials and workshops are available through Atomic Learning for all GISD families.

Topics include:

How to log in: Parents and students should contact their campus librarian for usernames and passwords. Staff can use their network credentials.

BrainPop

Check out these fun engaging videos with your child:

iKeepSafe

iKeepSafe provides positive resources for parents to help them teach their children how to use new media devices and platforms in safe and healthy ways.

The site also includes Faux Paw the Techno Cat® - a series of educational books and videos that teach children about topics like online safety, cyberbullying, responsible downloading and balancing screen time with real life.