It is never too soon to begin speaking with students about being safe on the internet. The website links on the library website are safe but it is very easy for a student to move away from the recommended website to a different site without realizing and for that reason students need to learn how to protect themselves.
Use a kid friendly search engine. Kid friendly search engines do a pretty good job at weeding out inappropriate results but they cannot control the advertisements. While the results will be safe the advertisements are dependent upon web searches done by anyone who uses that computer. Many sites now use redirect as a way to advertise. So if Mom does an internet search for bicycles for an upcoming birthday present, the advertisements that show on the page will very likely show bicycles. Teach your student what an advertisement looks like and how to avoid clicking the advertisement.
Look at the URL. When surfing the web, look very carefully at the URL (web address). Look for recognizable names in the address. Do you see .gov in the address? That means the information comes from a government agency and is considered safe. Do you see a recognizable name in the address, such as BBC or PBS or National Geographic? If so, you can trust that the information is coming from that known source and is likely reliable.
Look at the Website Description. Read the description before clicking the link. If the description does not make sense, contains inappropriate words, or looks like gibberish, the site may be untrustworthy.
Protect Privacy. Teach your student to protect his or her privacy. Keep names, addresses, and personal information private, do not share with online friends or strangers. Do not post personal stories and personal information in online public places.
Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying takes many forms and requires ongoing discussion with parents to avoid getting involved. Students need to realize how hurtful their words can be and the impact their words can have on another person.
Who wrote the pages and are they an expert?
Is a biography of the author included?
How can I find out more about the author?
Who sponsors the site?
What does the author say is the purpose of the site?
What else might the author have in mind for the site?
What makes the site easy to use?
What information is included and does the information differ from other sites?
When was the site created?
When was the site last updated?
Where does the information come from?
Where can I look to find out more information about the sponsor of the website?
Why is this information useful for my purposes?
Why should I use this information?
Why is this page better than another?
Frequently Asked Questions about Databases
1. What is a database? A database is a searchable collection of articles from published magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias & other reference books, reports, and research articles.
2. When to use a database? Use a database when you need reliable information for a school project.
3. Can I use the databases to find pictures? Absolutely!
4. Can I use the databases to find information for a science or social studies project? Yes!
6. How do I cite articles and pictures that I use from the databases? I am so glad you are thinking about giving credit to the author and photographer for their work. Each database has citation tools built right in. If you click on citation (or cite this) on a given article or image, you will see the proper way to cite that item.
7. How do I search the databases? Great question. I am glad you asked. Come up with a list of keywords about your topic. Use the keywords to search. Do not enter complete sentences. Separate keywords using AND. For example, if you want to find information about how the grand canyon was formed, your keywords will include: grand canyon, formed. Your search string should look like this: grand canyon AND formed.
It is always a good idea to brainstorm other words to use in case you cannot find exactly what you are looking for. Other words for formed, for example, include created, originated, or developed.
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