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12 Net safety

Teodóra Király

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Learning about keeping safe online


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work

What you need

20 min “Browse these websites on online safety. What advice would you give to other teenagers on safe surfing? Keep a record of what you have learnt. When you are finished, post your list of advice as a document on Nicenet.” Students read the sites, do quizzes and other online activities, creating a list of things they consider helpful on the topic of net safety. Finally, they post this list on Nicenet, the virtual document-storing site of the class. In pairs Selected websites (see below)
Nicenet for posting documents


General introduction

This section of the class on Internet safety follows the ‘jigsaw’ technique, where students learn about how other students got into trouble through their careless online behaviour. Basically, what you see is called controlled browsing because students look at a handful of webpages pre-selected by the teacher. There is still an element of browsing – students read the various texts, watch the short movies or animations, do the interactive quizzes freely, looking at as many of them as they wish, spending as much or as little time on them as they want to. The only thing they have to keep in mind is that they want to be able to give useful advice on the topic by the end of the activity. They will prove they have completed the task by posting a document containing their advice on Nicenet, the common virtual platform of the class. (See more about it at

The activity step by step

1. Students sit in front of the computers, working in pairs throughout the activity.

2. They log in to the Nicenet page of the class and find the links for the pages selected for this activity.

3. They browse these pages, taking notes and collecting useful advice on the topic.

4. Students post their documents containing their advice.

5. Finally, students can look at others’ posts and read their advice, comparing it to their own.

General advice

An important part of this kind of browsing is that you give plenty of time for students to explore freely, yet there is a focus to all the reading and listening they do online, in this lesson the fact that they have create a list of advice, summarizing the information they have found on the given pages. This group would get bored with this activity if given more than 20 minutes – the texts are simple and colloquial, they are already somewhat familiar with certain issues on net safety, for example from the real life stories they have read in the previous part of the lesson.

Students take less out of the activity if the teacher fails to provide a simple question or task that will direct and help organize the random reading. Even though they enjoy not having to answer good old ‘comprehension questions’, students will still value anything that helps them focus and not get lost and/or bored in the sea of information that they meet online, even in a restricted number of pages. Knowing that other students will look at their notes may be another thing that forces students to get the most out of the browsing.

Technical tips

If you want to use this lesson with your class, just use the links provided here, but check at least a day before class whether they still work. Websites keep changing all the time. If you do a different topic, you have to find the websites for yourself. In each case, you have to decide how to share the links with your students. If you choose to save the webpages on the school’s server and work offline, you have to keep in mind that certain interactive pages might not work this way. In our lesson, this might be the case with the listening part, for example.

The six links used in this lesson are:

Net safety site 1

Net safety site 2

Net safety site 3

Net safety site 4

Net safety site 5

Net safety site 6

The Nicenet site offers a simple way of sharing links, conferencing and posting documents as well. By default, all registered students can access all documents and post their own. Click on DOCUMENTS on the menu on the left, and then click on Add a Document under Other Documents. You have to give your document a title, write or paste your text into the text window below, and finish by clicking on Add Document. Students can come back to their documents and edit it later, and the administrator, (that is, you, the teacher) can edit documents posted by anyone. This feature is irrelevant in this exercise, but can be really useful in other situations.

Students here were asked to include the following two things in the title of their document: the words ‘Net Safety’ to label it, and both their names. This was necessary because otherwise only one author could be identified, the one who was logged on when posting the documents. Obviously, if students work one by one, there is no need to do this, since the site is organized so that you can always see who posted a document just by looking at it.

Preparation for class

It is always useful to check whether the websites you want to work with are working and still display the content you will need in class. However, with this exercise, your lesson can still work ok if one or two of the sites have changed – students will still be able to do their task and will still have plenty to read.

You must take the time and familiarise yourself with the topic. It may help if you create your own version of the list of advice you ask from the students. You may also show a few items off your list before the students do the browsing, as an example of what you expect. You may post it as a document yourself, with the items that you want to share, and keeping the rest to yourself.

The following checklist might be useful.

1. Decide on the topic.

2. Find sites or check the pages used in this lesson.

3. Link the sites you want to use in class on Nicenet.

4. Decide on the task that will keep students focussed.

5. (Create a sample list of advice and post it.)


If you have enough computers available, students can work on them alone. Usually three is the maximum number of students that can comfortably work on the same computer, even if it has a large screen, but in this case their main job is to read, so the closer they can be to the screen, the better. Plus, the fewer people browsing together, the more freedom students have to look at the texts at their own pace.