Educating Children About Cyberethics: Three Useful Tips and Resources

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Teaching children cyberethics is something we must do to protect them. For educators and parents, using cyberethics principles could be a great way to ensure children know how to avoid the numerous threats lurking around the digital space.

If you’re here to get some tips to teach the youth cyberethics, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find three useful tips (plus helpful resources!).

1. Address Common Myths about Cyber Threats

Goal: Help children understand the real risks and scope of cyber threats, so they know where else ethical problems might occur.

An excellent way to approach cyberethics education is to address misconceptions children might have about the topic. This will help you to assess their knowledge of cyber threats and ensure that they are aware of potential dangers.

Start by providing a brief intro to the topic and asking children what they know (visit the Online Security Hub for help). It’s possible that other adults or peers have told them some things about cyber threats, so ask them to share their knowledge. This way, you can make a smooth transition to the myths about cyber threats.

Address any myths or misconceptions they might have and explain the truth as clearly as possible. For example, one common myth children believe is that having an antivirus app installed on a computer protects one from all cyber threats. The reality is very different, so you need to address that.

Ultimately, knowing about existing threats will help children understand how vulnerable they may be and how important it is to learn about cyberethics.

Helpful resources:

2. Explain That Words Can Hurt

Goal: Teach kids empathy and how to avoid unacceptable online behaviors.

Sometimes even a text message can be extremely hurtful and lead to unexpected consequences. That’s why it's important to teach children that writing online messages, comments, replies, and other texts without thinking first is a major part of ethical behavior.

Here’s how you can approach this in a lesson:

Step 1: Explain why online written communication is a major area of ethical risk

Often, it can be easy to forget that everything we write online can potentially be hurtful to others. That’s why it’s important to remember that social media messages, comments, and other online messages shouldn’t have any offensive language or contain something others don’t want you to share.