Roblyer and Doering (2012) identify the following areas in which the use of the Internet can potentially cause serious issues:
- Accessing sites with inappropriate materials – as the Internet contains “objectionable” information (in forms of text and/or graphic), which is abundant and easily accessible, it is a challenge to prevent students from visiting those sites even “accidentally.”
- Safety and Privacy issues for students – as students become engaged in social networking activities they automatically face such potential dangers as: 1) online predators, 2) advertising aimed at children, 3) privacy issues, and 4) cyber bullying.
- Fraud on the Internet – making purchases (or any other type of transactions) over the Internet can be potentially risky.
- Computer viruses and hacking – any computer connected to the Internet can be infected with viruses for malicious purposes. Those viruses can be received via email attachments or be downloaded directly from the Internet.
- Copyright and plagiarism issues – the Internet with its abundance of information and media makes it extremely easy to “forget about the copyright low” and engage into criminal activities by using someone else’s information as one’s own (Roblyer and Doering, p. 214-216.)
The following are the guidelines for international college level students studying English in the US:
2. Never open an attachment from an email if you do not recognize its sender. That is, if you are not sure who sent the email and why, do not hurry to open it! You can perform a Google search on the address or company/person name (if available) before opening it.
3. Do not reveal any personal information such as username or password to anyone, even your teachers! If you receive an e-mail asking for such information more than likely it is spam.
4. Do not engage in any activity online that you would not in the “real” world. If it is not a right thing to do and is punishable in real world, more than likely it is also the case if it is done online. Remember that everything you write will be seen by other people and often will stay there; therefore, it can be used against you later on.
5. Be mindful of how you use social networking sites: the content you post and the language you use may be seen by more people than you expect. Would you use those in your classroom? If not, avoid using them in the online environment, too.
6. Do not engage in any bullying or harassing activities, even if they seem “innocent and humorous”. Be extra cautious about the language used and sensitive to other people’s feeling. If in doubt how your language will be interpreted, never post!
7. Never cut and paste any information from the Internet into your assignments, especially without citing the source! While “enhancing” one’s writing by using phrases and sentences from the Internet might sound like a good thing to do to language learners, in fact, it is not! Moreover, by doing so, you can jeopardize your whole assignment!
The following are additional resources for more information on Internet Safety:
- Internet Safety for Teens.
- Internet Safety for Adults.
- Internet Safety 101: Enough Is Enough.
- Internet Safety: Plagiarism.
- Plagiarism and Writing in America.
Images: Google Images
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, Aaron H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.