Are You Being Safe on the Internet?

Kelen Campbell, Reporter/Photographer

As time has ticked, we have made adaptations due to our world going virtual. We have watched classrooms go from having assignments on a pencil and paper to on a laptop. People have been taught to adapt to these changes, but is the internet really a safe place? Have people been taught how to use internet safety?

You must be careful about what you say and do on the internet. Every website that you click on is added to your digital footprint- the information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity.

Internetsafety101.org stated, “Nearly half of young people (47%) have received intimidating, threatening or nasty messages online.” 

Are children still being taught about internet safety? Are children still learning about what they should and should not do when it comes to their internet usage? Or has it just been forgotten, as if humans are not being exposed to anything imaginable with the click of a mouse?

I attempted to find out about the Internet Safety Curriculum at Hackler Intermediate school but the office workers were unsure of an official program being used.

Students at MHHS had mixed experiences with internet safety.

“I learned that you have to be safe with the people you follow or talk to,” says junior Alexus Perry stated, “because you don’t know who’s behind the phone. I also learned that you have to be careful about what you send because it never [permanently] goes away. You have to be careful about what you talk about, and you should not bully.

Junior Miranda Stopka states, “I learned to not add people on social media that you do not know. Adding or following people you don’t know can be very bad for your own safety.”

[I learned] nothing. I had an online boyfriend when I was like 11-12, and he was like 17-18. It lasted a year and I didn’t know anything about relationships so it was pretty bad.”

— Anonymous

“Don’t send stupid stuff around because it will never go away,” advises junior Hunter Terrill. 

“[I learned] nothing,” says an anonymous senior. “I had an online boyfriend when I was like 11-12, and he was like 17-18. It lasted a year and I didn’t know anything about relationships so it was pretty bad.”

According to ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) student standards,  #2 on the list was “Digital Citizen” stating “Students recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal, and ethical.”

How are children supposed to be good “digital citizens” if their instructors can’t even provide the curriculum that is used to teach about internet safety? As the population of internet users grows rapidly, administrators, guardians, and other adults should be doing all they can to teach children how to use the internet properly, before it is too late. Children are innocent-minded beings, with big hearts full of trust. If there are predators on the internet, their trust is being broken.