School Cyber Policy and Internet Ethics for Beginners

♫ ♪ Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start! ♪ ♫

Maria knew how to write a lesson plan for her seven ‘students’ in the movie Sound of Music, and she knew that it was very important to begin with the basics. Before leaping into the world of classroom social media usage, interactive, electronic books and collaborative moodle wikis, a teacher needs to begin with do re mi

Do you have a written cyber policy in place for students, parents and teachers?

Student safety is the number one priority when dealing with the internet and making global connections. Your school needs to be in partnership with your Internet Technology department, and careful consideration must be given to site filters and blocks. Simply denying access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is no longer strictly appropriate, however. Instead, teachers need to decide how to best teach with social media while working within internet safety policies.

Teacher responsibility needs to be examined and qualified. Should teachers be allowed to ‘friend’ a current student on her or his own personal Facebook site, for example? School cyber policies need to equally protect teachers and administrators from social media’s immediate cyber-intimacy and looser social boundaries.

Introducing online teaching and mobile applications to your classroom requires equal amounts of student preparation in the form of ‘netiquette’. Once students are online and connecting with each other (and the world!), how do they act? What is net courtesy, what are internet ethics and what is considered offensive or hostile?

One of the most important pieces of your new school cyber policy is your emphasis on cyber-bullying prevention. Your students need to clearly understand the school’s definition of cyber-bullying in all of its online and mobile forms, and they need to know what the serious ramifications are for any breach in your school’s cyber policy. Apple even offers a free app for the iPad called Professor Garfield Cyberbullying.

Parents are part of your team and are invaluable for enforcing computer rules at home. A speaker presentation or YouTube video is helpful in explaining your internet teaching tools to moms and dads, along with the reasons for your protective, preventative cyber policies.

Being prepared at the beginning of your cyber classroom journey will help you avoid unsafe or unfortunate e-situations. Creating a written cyber policy will allow parents, teachers, administrators and students to enjoy what the amazing web has to offer, under the clear, specific terms of a cyber user guide.


What kind of cyber policies does your school have in place? Leave a comment below!

Until next time,

Erik SchreefelJean MacLeod
Social Media Specialist, Oakland Schools

An author, workshop presenter, former World Languages book editor and the current Social Media Specialist for Oakland Schools. She is also Mom to three kids — one in middle school, one in high school and one (praise Heaven and Parent Plus Loans) who is about to graduate from MSU with a degree in Elementary Education. Jean is dedicated to getting out the “back-story” on our current educational challenges: the good, the bad, the technological, and what we can do to affect change.




2 Comments To "School Cyber Policy and Internet Ethics for Beginners"
Elyse - 01/09/2012

My school district (rural community in West Virginia) is tiptoeing around this issue. I've urged them to create a Cyber Policy for the safety of the faculty and students, however, they're dragging their feet because our computer-to-student ratio is low. I'm glad to see that there are others out there championing this issue!
Mr. Etherson - 01/09/2012

The Free Cyber Policy Resources at the end are really helpful. Thanks!

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