How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6

The Internet is a wonderful resource for kids for researching school reports, communicating with teachers, staying in touch with friends, and entertaining themselves. They can literally hit a few keystrokes and

kids and internet

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find out about culture in China, the history of Europe, or take a tour of the American White House.

But with that access comes risks, even if you’re careful. For example, in our class project on life cycles, we never allow the students to search “chicks”, rather they must type “baby chickens” to avoid the problems the former carries.

The digital natives we are educating don’t want to hide from these sorts of problems, though. They want to learn to manage them. What we as teachers must do is show them how to avoid the internet’s bad neighborhoods so they can benefit from the good. Here’s my year-by-year teaching run-down:


I mix internet safety lessons in with other teaching during my 45-minutes-per-week lesson. I spread it out throughout the year, repeating if necessary, which doesn’t bother kindergartners.

  • Have sufficient adult assistance that student activities can be corrected immediately so learning is seamless and students aren’t confused

First Grade

I mix these lessons in with other teaching throughout the year. I reinforce the topic at least monthly so students realize its importance.

Second Grade

Third Grade—this is a four-week unit

Fourth Grade—this is a five-week unit

  • Create avatars as you discuss internet safety
  • Discuss safe research methods (and how that equates to internet safety)
  • Discuss netiquette, good online manners
  • Discuss copyrights
  • Discuss plagiarism
  • Websites we visit (given time)

Fifth Grade—this is a seven-week unit

  • Discuss digital citizenship—what that means, why it’s important, the responsibilities of being a ‘digital citizen’
  • Discuss copyrights
  • Discuss plagiarism and the importance of giving credit to the creator of text and images
  • Discuss fair use
  • Discuss public domain
  • Discuss ‘digital footprint’—what’s that mean?
  • Discuss netiquette, good online manners
  • Discuss safe online presence (no last names, etc.)
  • Discuss safe research methods (and how that equates to internet safety)
  • Webquest on Hoax or Not
  • Website on Is This Picture Real?

Sixth Grade (and Teens)

Here are tips suggested by many Police Departments as good general rules for kids accessing the internet:

  • Tell your parents immediately if you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable.  Remember that people on the Internet may not be who they seem.
  • Never give out identifying information such as your name, home address, school name or telephone number in a public message, such as in a chat room or on a bulletin board.
  • People who are dangerous may represent themselves online as a young boy or girl to entice you to a face-to-face meeting.
  • You should never arrange a face-to-face meeting without first asking a parent. If a parent agrees, you should meet in a public place with your parent accompanying you. Be careful when someone offers you something for nothing.
  • Be very careful about any offers that involve you coming to a meeting or have someone visit your home.
  • Always get to know your online friends just as you would get to know all of your friends.
  • Never send your picture without first asking a parent.
  • Never respond to messages or items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Be sure that you are dealing with someone you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information about yourself.
  • Diligent parental supervision will help ensure your safety on the Internet.

How do you teach internet safety?

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: classroom management, K-5 Tech training, lesson plans, Parent resources, tech security, web | Tags: , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6

  1. Pingback: How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6 | Recursos Educativos Online |

    • Tech Teacher,
      Thank you for all of your suggestions to teach internet safety while in school to grades K-6. I see that your lesson plan for sixth grade can also be applied to teens. What other suggestions do you have for older students?
      Internet safety is a huge issue in today’s society, especially with so many schools converting to a 1 to 1 initiative, where every student receives a laptop. Safety should be taught at school, but my concern is their internet safety at home. How do we prepare students for some of things on the internet? Does this come with educating parents too? Many times at home, students are not monitored on the computer. How do we prevent these students from being corrupted with some of the ridiculous things posted on the internet?
      Lindsey Dickinson

      • I am just working on a lesson plan for 7/8. I’m hoping readers will share their ideas so I can learn from them. I think it needs to start with addressing where they probably already are online–Facebook, Twitter, IMs, and more. How should they do that safely. There are a few websites that are always mentioned when considering teens–cyberbullying and more on cyberbullying.

        What are your thoughts?

  2. I used Common Sense Media ( ) for a lot of my technology lessons. They have a fantastic program with free lesson plans and they’ve just added online interactive videos and games that go along with those lessons.

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  13. I need to Internet Safety to all my students (1-6) I like Netsmartz (and received booklets from them in the mail) for the younger ones, but it doesn’t seem appropriate for my 6th graders. Do you have any advice? The booklet they sent me for Middle School seems too old for them. Is there anything you’ve had GREAT success with for this grade level? HELP!

  14. Netsmartz has some good websites for Middle School– This link is to several videos. There are also some wonderful websites I’ve collected on digital citizenship here ( I love Tracking Theresa.

    SL is coming out with a Digital Citizenship curriculum for K-8 in a few weeks that I understand has a lot of great websites and resources for middle school. You might want to check it out (

  15. – Jesteście pewni, http://Www.Instituteforculturalinfluence.
    com/ kobiety? – spytał niedobrze von Egger. Opierał się o
    zaporę podejrzanej szopy na podgrodziu. – Jehtem
    – odparł sir Roger, niedużo nijak, dzięki trzymanej.

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