- While many online users behave positively and respectfully, there are inappropriate behaviours that a child may encounter such as swearing or being abusive, bullying, harassing behaviour, and sharing content designed to upset others.
- Some behaviours online may also break the law or have the potential to be illegal – these include threats to harm or kill, scamming or theft, sale of illegal products, hateful content, and the grooming/exploitation of children.
- There are also crimes that are unique to the internet, such as hacking (using technology to force access into online accounts or networks to steal money or information) and creating or using malware (malicious software such as viruses and trojans)
- Alongside illegal behaviours are other behaviours that have the potential to cause harm (intended or unintended) – these include risky dares/challenges, content that promotes self-harm in any form, and content that promotes harming other people.
- Discuss with your students the importance of reporting tools in informing an online service about the behaviour of others. Reassure your students that reporting another user is anonymous; that user will not know who reported them. If appropriate, you may be able to show your students where to find reporting tools on their favourite games/apps and demonstrate how they work.
- Talk to your students about other tools/features that allow them to manage their online experience. This could include privacy settings that control contact or communication, or settings that may allow them to filter what they see or experience in a game/app.
- Take the time to discuss with students the types of behaviour that are never okay online such as illegal or criminal behaviour and behaviour designed to harm others. Your students may have questions about the legality of different online behaviours.
- Remind your students to always tell you or another trusted adult if they see or experience anything online that makes them worried or upset. This is also true if they see or experience any behaviour they believe to be illegal.
- Remember – talking with students about online behaviour is very likely to lead to them sharing their online experiences and possibly the experiences of others (such as things that happened to a family member or friend). The issues that might be shared may have been successfully resolved or could be ongoing. It could also be the first time that a child has disclosed this information. If a student discloses anything that gives you cause for concern about their welfare or safety (or that of other students) then always follow the child protection procedures in your school. This is also important if a disclosure relates to illegal behaviour (either by a student or towards a student).