1. Be respectful of other peoples’ feelings. Just because you find something to be funny does not mean that it does not offend others. Be courteous of those around you and before you post something on the internet, think how others may react to it.
2. Be careful of what you access on the internet. Most sites are useful, entertaining and safe. However, there are people in this world with bad intentions that may put inappropriate material online. Luckily for us, Spring Branch Independent School District works hard to keep that type of material off our school internet. But even with that protection, there are risks. Think of it this way, would you show a family member the material you are seeing. If not, stay away from it. If you are not sure if what you are seeing is inappropriate, ask me and I will look at it to help you understand why it is or is not. Remember, my number one goal is to keep you safe, not only physically, but mentally as well which includes safe and healthy digital citizenship.
3. As mentioned in digiteen article we read, identify is a very important thing to protect. You must safeguard personal information about yourself. What I mean is that there are a few people that will use information about others to steal from them (identity theft) or cause them harm. Don’t give your telephone number, address or personal information about yourself out on the internet. Understand that the website Mr. Allen has designed for you to use is only accessible to you, teachers and administrators at Woodview and your families. This is a safeguard Mr. Allen uses to keep you protected from outside sources that may or may not have your best interests in mind.
4. Be careful of misunderstandings when communicating by e-mail. The digiteen article discusses this in detail. When you say something face to face, people can see if you are joking or are serious. When you write an e-mail or blog, you may think something is funny but others may think you are being serious and become upset at what you wrote. A responsible digital citizen is one who thinks about what they are going to write and carefully words it as to minimize offending others. No matter how much you consider others’ feelings, misunderstandings will still occur on occasion. Make sure if this is the case, you listen to what the person has to say, explain your intention with what you wrote and apologize if necessary. Saying I am sorry is an act of strength not weakness.
5. Do not use the internet to make others feel bad about themselves. This is identified in the digiteen article as cyber-bullying and is just as unacceptable online as bullying is face to face. Again, think about what you are saying and could it cause someone to have his or her feelings hurt. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion and stating it even if many others disagree. But that is different than stating something to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings or picking on someone because others are doing so. Report any cyber-bullying you see to me so we can make the Woodview internet learning community a safe and healthy place to be.