Learning remotely keeps students constantly in touch with their classmates and teachers. But it also makes students vulnerable to the risks of scams and bad behavior.
Students can follow these tips to keep safe when doing school online. Find out more about cyberbullying and online safety for teens.
- Only use secure websites. Make sure that the URL includes "https," or there's the image of a lock next to the URL in the address bar.
- Trust gut instinct. If something doesn’t look right, don't click on it.
- Protect personal information. Don't share anything a stranger shouldn't see. That includes any personally identifying information – a name, address, phone number, birthday, username, passwords and even favorite games and music.
- Don't talk to strangers. Say "no" to any stranger who asks for personal information. Block them, and report them to a caregiver or teacher.
- Posts can stay online forever. Anything posted online can be easily copied, and even if it's deleted, it can still live on the internet. Consider who might see it, including colleges and employers, and how it might be perceived in the future.
- Don't post when away. Don't post when away from home for a long time. That tells criminals that no one's home, and a geotag might show them where home is.
- Feel safe. Harassment through email, text messaging, online games or social media is cyberbullying. Talk to a trusted person, such as a counselor, teacher and family member, about any time that cyberbullying is experienced or seen. Find out more about cyberbullying and online safety for teens.
- Think before clicking. Unexpected links and attachments in messages might contain viruses or spyware that the sender doesn’t even know about. Check with the sender first. Trash a message from a stranger.
- Shut it down. If a computer's not in use, shut it down, or put it in a password-protected state, so no one else can use it. Don't leave it alone in a public place like a library or a coffee shop.
- Talk to a librarian. Ask a teacher or school librarian about the best sites to do research.
- Make passwords safe. Be sure that passwords include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Make them hard so that someone can’t guess them, and don’t share them with anyone.
- Check the privacy settings on accounts. Look through the settings of apps and social media to be sure that only trusted people can see the posts.
- Keep software up to date. Make sure to run the latest operating system, anti-virus software and web browsers on your devices.