Safety and Ethics

Internet Use and Analysis

I believe that my use of the Internet is reasonably safe and ethical. However, I cannot say this was always so.  As a student growing up with the Internet, I was never given any instruction in Internet safety or ethics during my K-12 education.  As an adult, I now understand Internet safety issues in a much more comprehensive fashion.  I had a good understanding of ethics issues such as referencing and plagiarism, although my knowledge of fair use was only perfunctory.
My main uses of the Internet include Twitter, e-mail, Internet shopping, and searching.  I feel that I take appropriate safety measures with these applications. For example, I use an alias on Twitter rather than my real name, and my avatar is not a picture of myself. Information in my profile does not reveal my location.  As regards e-mail, I do not provide any information through a personal e-mail signature or profile.  I am also very aware of spam and unsafe e-mails (I was amused when reading the "Bill Gates" hoax e-mail in the readings as I just received it as a forward from a cousin last week. She unfortunately believed it and wished me good luck.) When shopping on the Internet, I am careful not to store passwords or credit card numbers.  However, personal information is often stored when one creates an account, and this is certainly a safety consideration.  Many shopping sites allow shoppers to buy without the need to create an account, and these sites may be the most desirable. Finally, when searching, I feel that I have a good skill set as regards analyzing sites for bias and safety. I always analyze sites to determine the origination of the information and any bias or agenda that may be present.  Use of Google also helps me to understand which sites may be dangerous to my computer.
As regards ethics, I have always understood the need to cite and source.  I have created several websites, and have always sourced textual information appropriately.  Plagiarism has never been much of an issue with me as I did receive appropriate guidance regarding citations in high school. I do need to be more careful with copyright infringement and the use of images and other non-text items.  I need to utilize the fair use guidelines and keep a copy near my desk at school for easy reference (Mills, 2006). I also need to study the implications of the Teach Act, DCMA, and other copyright and fair use laws and policies that may be enacted (Fryer, 2003). Currently, I use many videos from Safari Montage, which is perfectly within fair use guidelines since our school purchases a subscription to these clips and videos. However, it seems that fair use can become murky in certain situations, and I would like to further explore fair use protocol. We were told at our school that we would have to write to the publisher to use many of the videos in our collection; as stated in our readings, this is unlikely to occur and is time-consuming for already busy teachers.  Still, I would like to find a reasonable way to follow copyright laws (Fryer, 2003).

Acceptable Use

Because my kindergarten students have not been on the internet by themselves this year, I have only been able to model acceptable use when we have searched together with me at the keyboard.  They will go on the internet in the computer lab at some point, but will be restricted to the sites I choose. The point of the acceptable use policy that I utilize most is the use of sites and resources that are appropriate and support the curriculum (MNPS, 2010). I will also model that students may not use the internet without supervision (MNPS, 2010). Our acceptable use policy is very thorough, but most of it is not applicable as of yet to my five year olds. However, the aspects of acceptable use to which I am introducing my students will provide a solid foundation for acceptable use in the future. Although our policy is comprehensive, I do wish that our filters were much more liberal, as many appropriate sites are blocked. The use of social media for learning is also not allowed, and I would like to be a part of advocating for change on this front.

New Strategies

Although my own students are not searching on the Internet individually, I would like to recommend the use of the NetSmartz site for our school.  I know that students are not currently being provided with any Internet safety curriculum at my school. When I am a library media specialist, I will integrate safety as well as ethical guidelines into my instruction.  Students will be taught that images, videos, etc found on the internet are not a free for all and must be utilized according to fair use, and that the students must take certain steps to protect themselves online (such as not using real names or providing personal information.)  I feel that the students will have the opportunity to build information literacy in the area of safety and ethics that will serve and protect themselves and others in extremely important ways in the future.


Fryer, W. (2003). Copyright 101 for educators. TechEdge, 2002-2003. Retrieved

Mills, S. (2006). Using the Internet for active teaching and learning. New
      Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

MNPS (2010). Student technology acceptable use policy. Retrieved from