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Keywords: cyber safety
Subject(s): Information Skills, Civics, Social Skills, Technology, Life Science, Writing, Reading
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: PS 95 Eastwood, Jamaica, NY
Planned By: Mary Lawrence
Original Author: Mary Lawrence, Jamaica
Lesson Plan: Safety on the Internet
Essential Question. What’s the difference between friends in real life and friends on the internet?
Objective: Students will learn that caution is the key with online friends but in real life friends are a valuable gift to yourself. Students will learn to never reveal private information
Students will: Identify differences between real life and online friends Create a personal checklist for safe online chatting Analyze why private information should not be given to anyone online Determine how to respond to inappropriate on line messages.
Introduce topic by sharing some personal experience online and then ask students to share their experiences online. Discuss the fact that kids will chat online with people they do not know.
Ask students to explain the differences between friends they know and people they have never met in person. Discuss the fact that you have fun with online friends but you know that you don’t know these friends as well as the real life friends. Therefore, they need to be cautious.
ASK: What can you really know about friends on line? age, background, address, gender
Ask: Should you talk to online friends in the same way that you talk to real life friends?
TEACH ASK: Are there problems that might be easier to share with an online friend than a real life friend?

EXPLAIN to students that online friends might pretend to be someone other than who they really are. They might not really be who students think they are. That’s why it’s important for students to never share their private information with online- friends. They wouldn’t give private information to a stranger without asking, and it’s important for them to treat online-only friends the same way.

Explain that there are criminals who trick people into giving out private information about others. Then they use that private information to pretend to be them. This is called identity theft. Giving out certain pieces of information to strangers can also let them know where you are located. This could be dangerous.
Discuss what private information is.
EXPLAIN that private information includes name, birth date, age, passwords, address, phone number, name of school, family members’ information, email address, and any photos in which you can be recognized
DISCUSS with students that they never should share private information about themselves. They should never respond to questions that make them feel uncomfortable.
EXPLAIN that when an online friend asks her “Where is your school?” you can answer with “I’d rather not say,” or “That’s private information.” Or don’t answer at all.

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives. You may want to ask students to reflect in writing on one of the questions, using a journal or an online blog/wiki.
How are online friends and real life friends different?
What kind of information should you not share with online friends?
What should you do when someone you don’t know asks for private information?
What’s private information?

Extension Activity
Have kids find kid-friendly websites that have monitors in their chat areas. Ask them to visit a couple of these websites and observe the chatting that is occurring. Ask them to reflect on whether anyone is revealing private information. They should report back to the

Common Core State Standards
Common Core: Grade 4: RI.3, RI.4,

Materials: English/Language Arts, Speech and Language