Teaching Primary Students to be Internet Safety Superheroes

Tips and ideas for teaching internet safety to young students.

We are teaching in unprecedented times when it comes to technology and internet safety. Never before have we seen a generation using technology at such young ages.

A few years ago I only taught internet safety lessons to my fifth graders. I was shocked to hear how many of them had Facebook accounts and used YouTube without supervision. Then it was Snapchat and my third graders getting into trouble for posting inappropriate photos on Instagram. Now I have kindergarten students with smartphones who text during recess.

Kids of all ages are using technology in ways like never before. We must teach them how to use it safely.

This made me realize just how important it is to teach ALL students! I’ve also realized the importance of teaching not only how to stay safe online but also how to be responsible digital citizens. I wanted to teach these skills in a meaningful way that my youngest students would understand. After doing some searching I put together a variety of resources that are perfect for tackling this important topic with young kids. Keep reading to find out how I have incorporated teaching digital safety to my primary students.

What to focus on when teaching internet safety?

In kindergarten and first grade, I focus on a few very specific online safety rules and procedures. These include:

  • What is private information? What information is safe to share online and what is not?
  • What does it mean to be respectful online? How should you treat others when you are interacting with them online?
  • What should you do if you see something online that upsets you?
  • What should you do if you are being treated unkindly online?
  • What is a password? What does a safe and secure password look like?

By keeping the topics specific and providing an explanation of what each includes, even our youngest students can learn to stay safe on the internet.

Picture Books to Teach Internet Safety

I always incorporate a read aloud in every lesson that I can, especially for my younger students. These are a few of my favorite technology-themed picture books. They discuss not only staying safe online but also cyberbullying and your digital footprint.

Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis

These two picture books, Chicken Clicking and Goodnight iPad are great for teaching internet safety to kids.

This delightful tale Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis is more than just a cute story. It packs a punch when it comes to teaching kids that everything on the internet is not honest and true.

Chick discovers the internet and enjoys online shopping and social networking, but when she arranges to meet a “friend” she made online, she discovers all is not as it seems.

Goodnight iPad: a parody for the next generation by Ann Droyd

Based on the beloved children’s classic, this book, Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd, is perfect for young and old.

In the bright buzzing room . . . it is time to power down. For parents and children alike, here is a modern bedtime story about bidding our gadgets goodnight. Don’t worry, though. They’ll be waiting for us, fully charged, in the morning.

How We Got Cyber Smart: A book about how to stay safe online by Lisa Rothfield-Kirschner

These two picture books teach wonderful lessons about the use of technology and the dangers that await.

Ready to tackle the topic of cyberbullying? This book, How We Got Cyber Smart by Lisa Rrothfield-Kirschner, is here to help.

This book follows the adventures of two kids Olivia and Jack, as they navigate the online world and tells the story of how they became cyber-smart and dealt with their online bully. It provides practical advice to parents and children on the topic of internet safety.

If You Give a Mouse an iPhone by Ann Droyd

If you give in to temptation and give a bored little mouse your iPhone, even for ten minutes, he’s probably going to beam to some faraway place beyond time, space, and the sound of your pleading voice. And if he’s that far gone, he won’t have any idea what’s going on around him, and he might end up missing out on all the real fun.

If You Give a Mouse an iPhone by Ann Droyd is a wonderful picture book to help students realize the downfalls of being obsessed with using technology.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds brings to the forefront the power of technology to interfere with real-life friendships in Nerdy Birdy Tweets.

Two great picture books for your internet safety lessons.

Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends. One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.

Once Upon a Time Online by David Bedford

Looking for a book to illustrate how the use of technology can change things? Once Upon a Time Online by David Bedford is just the book you need.

Once upon a time, a laptop arrived in Fairy-tale land… A happily ever after is only a click away! Find out what happens when our favorite fairy-tale characters receive a laptop and learn a lesson in online safety.

The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story by Julia Cook

The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story by Julia Cook is a wonderful book for teaching a valuable lesson about internet safety. Helping kids understand that everything they do online stays out there for all to see is an important part of learning to use technology.

The power of words is brought to life in these two picture books about internet safety and technology use.

Don’t be mean and irresponsible! That’s the straight-to-the-point advice Screen has for young readers who are active on social media. Whether tapping out messages on their computers, tablets, or phones, Screen wants kids to know their words will follow them for life, creating a digital trail that can’t be erased.

Troll Stinks by Jeanne Willis

Billy Goat and his best friend Cyril are messing about with the farmer’s mobile phone, taking selfies and playing games . . . until they find the number for a troll. Their Grandpa Gruff says trolls are bad, so Billy and Cyril decide to get their own back by sending mean messages. After all, trolls really do stink! Don’t they?

Troll Stinks by Jeanne Willis, is a delightful story that dives into some important topics about technology. A great way to teach your students that words online matter just like they do face to face.

Unplugged by Steve Antony

Teach your kids the important lesson about taking time unplugged in Unplugged by Steve Antony.

Tackle technology addiction and the power of being unplugged with these delightful picture books.

Meet Blip. Blip loves being plugged into her computer. When a blackout occurs, Blip trips over her wire and tumbles outside. Suddenly, Blip’s gray world is filled with color and excitement. She plays with her new friends and has adventures all day long. When Blip finally returns home, she realizes that the world can be even brighter once you unplug.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power Suzanne Collins

A boy who likes nothing but playing computer games is in trouble when the power goes out and his little sister has all of the batteries in the house.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins is a hysterical story about “computer craze.” By teaching our kids about it in this fun read aloud, we can equip them to begin to identify it in themselves.

Interactive Videos and Games for Teaching Internet Safety

We all know that kids love games. So why not tap into that love and engagement factor and use them as part of our internet safety lessons?

Teach 5 Important Rules

Teach 5 important internet rules with Cyber Five video on abcya.com

ABCYa has a short animation video called Cyber-Five. It is about two friends, Hedgehog and Hippo, who have a video game playdate. But in the process, Hedgehog teaches Hippo about the Cyber Five. Five important rules for staying safe on the internet.

With slide-by-slide controls or a play-all option, you can choose the best way to use this cute video in your internet safety lessons.

Interactive Internet Safety Quiz

Let your students show what they know about internet safety with this BrainPop Jr. free internet safety video and an online quiz. 

Show the video first or use the quiz at the end of your unit to give your students a chance to since. You can also use this as the very first activity on the topic to see what your students already know about internet safety.

Explore Interland – an Internet Safety Game by Google

Teach your students about using the internet safely through game play.

Teach internet safety through the power of gameplay with his fantastic game by Google. Students will explore different lands and complete challenges as they learn about important internet safety rules and topics. With your young students, I suggest playing together by projecting the screen.

On Mindful Mountain, students learn how important it is to share personal information with the right people. In the Tower of Treasures, students are challenged to outrun the hackers and safely store their personal information in the Tower. In Kind Kingdom, kids learn that “it’s cool to be kind” when interacting online. And on the Reality River students are challenged to decipher between real and fake in the online world.

Your students will love playing Interland and you will love the lessons they learn along the way.

No Prep Lessons and Activities

This printable resource for teaching internet safety includes posters, a mini-book and printable activities.

When searching for resources to teach internet safety I had a difficult time finding just what I was looking for, especially when it came to our K-2 students. So I set out to create a variety of lessons and activities that is geared just for them!

Printable Resources

My Internet Safety Superheroes resource is ready to print and use with your students. It includes 6 posters covering the topics of how to stay safe online and cyberbullying. The posters are perfect for a bulletin board display near your library computers or to use as part of your lessons. I have also used them in a display case by the main office, or to project during a teaching segment of a PTO meeting.

My favorite part of this resource is the printable mini-book for students. This mini-book is the perfect student handout for your lessons. Students love following along with the rules and completing the built-in activities in the book. There are also 4 printable activities that students can complete after learning the rules.

Digital Resources

Similar to the printable pack, I also have created digital lesson resources and activities for teaching internet safety to young students.

Have clear and concise "rules" for teaching young students about internet safety.

The digital resource includes a Google Slideshow about internet safety rules. Each of the 6 slides focuses on one rule and can be used as part of your lesson. You can also print the slides to create physical posters to hang in the library.

This digital resource also includes a Google Slides file with 7 activities students can complete. Students will move images on the screen to answer questions. If you prefer, you can complete the same activities using the provided link to access them on SeeSaw. I suggest choosing the option your students are most familiar with.

Save These Internet Safety Resources for Primary Students

By using a variety of engaging and interactive resources, even your youngest students can learn important rules about technology and the internet. Save these ideas by pinning this post to your favorite library lesson Pinterest board.

Teaching internet safety to primary students doesn't have to be difficult.  This blog post details a variety of fun, engaging and interactive resources you can use to teach this skill. Designed for students in kindergarten, first and second grade these books, videos, games and activities are the perfect addition to your internet safety lessons.