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23 Great Lesson Plans for Internet Safety

Help kids practice smart internet habits and stay safe online.

Erin Wilkey Oh | February 7, 2020

Educators' approach to internet safety in the classroom has changed as technology and our use of it continues to evolve. In the past, digital citizenship lessons on internet safety focused more on dos and don'ts, like do create safe passwords and don't talk to strangers online. While secure passwords are certainly important for technology users of all ages, and stranger danger is nothing to take lightly, most internet safety dilemmas are much more nuanced.

The best internet safety lessons recognize the complexity of these topics and help students build the critical-thinking skills and habits of mind to navigate the dilemmas they encounter. Below are the best internet safety lesson plans for students in grades K–12. See the full Common Sense K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum for lesson plans on additional digital citizenship topics.

Kindergarten Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Safety in My Online Neighborhood

How do you go places safely online?
The power of the internet allows students to experience and visit places they might not be able to see in person. But, just like when traveling in the real world, it's important to be safe when traveling online. On this virtual field trip, kids can practice staying safe on online adventures.

First Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Pause & Think Online

How can we be safe, responsible, and respectful online?
From our head down to our toes, and our feet up to our nose, the Digital Citizens teach students how to be safe, responsible, and respectful online.

Internet Traffic Light

How do you stay safe when visiting a website or an app?
Staying safe online is a lot like staying safe in the real world. Using a fun traffic light activity, students learn how to identify "just right" content, giving them the green light to learn, play, and explore the internet safely.

Second Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

That's Private!

What kinds of information should I keep to myself when I use the internet?
Staying safe online is a lot like staying safe in the real world. By helping a Digital Citizen sign up for a new app, students learn about the kinds of information they should keep to themselves when they use the internet -- just as they would with a stranger in person.

Who Is in Your Online Community?

How are we all part of an online community?
We are all connected on the internet! By learning the Rings of Responsibility, students explore how the internet connects us to people in our community and throughout the world. Help your students think critically about the different ways they connect with others, both in person and online.

Third Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Password Power-Up

How can a strong password help protect your privacy?
Stronger, more secure online passwords are a good idea for everyone. But how can we help kids create better passwords and actually remember them? Use the tips in this lesson to help kids make passwords that are both secure and memorable.

Our Digital Citizenship Pledge

What makes a strong online community?
Belonging to various communities is important for kids' development. But some online communities can be healthier than others. Show your students how they can strengthen both online and in-person communities by creating norms that everyone pledges to uphold.

Fourth Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Private and Personal Information

What information about you is OK to share online?
It's in our students' nature to share and connect with others. But sharing online comes with some risks. How can we help kids build strong, positive, and safe relationships online? Help your students learn the difference between what's OK to share and what's best left private.

Keeping Games Fun and Friendly

How can I be positive and have fun while playing online games, and help others do the same?
Social interaction is part of what makes online gaming so popular and engaging for kids. Of course, online communication can come with some risks. Show your students how to keep their gaming experiences fun, healthy, and positive.

Fifth Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

You Won't Believe This!

What is clickbait, and how can you avoid it?
The internet is full of catchy headlines and outrageous images, all to make us curious and get our attention. But kids don't usually realize: What you click on isn't always what you get. Show your students the best ways to avoid clickbait online.

Digital Friendships

How do you keep online friendships safe?
Kids make friends everywhere they go -- including online. But are all these friendships the same? How can kids start online friendships and learn ways to stay safe? Help your students understand both the benefits and the risks of online-only friendships.

Sixth Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Don't Feed the Phish

How can you protect yourself from phishing?
Internet scams are part of being online today, but many kids might not be aware of them. How do we help our students avoid being tricked into clicking malicious links or giving out private information? Use this lesson to help kids avoid online identity theft and phishing schemes.

Chatting Safely Online

How do you chat safely with people you meet online?
Games, social media, and other online spaces give kids opportunities to meet and chat with others outside the confines of their real-life communities. But how well do kids actually know the people they're meeting and interacting with? Help students consider whom they're talking to and the types of information they're sharing online.

Seventh Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Big, Big Data

How do companies collect and use data about you?
Every time we go online, we're giving away information about ourselves. But just how much data are companies collecting from us? Hint: It's probably a lot more than we realize. Show your students these three tips on how to limit the data that companies collect.

My Social Media Life

How does social media affect our relationships?
For most middle schoolers, being on social media can mean connecting with friends, sharing pictures, and keeping up to date. But it can also mean big-time distractions, social pressures, and more. Help students navigate the different feelings they may already be experiencing on social media.

Eighth Grade Internet Safety Lesson Plans

Being Aware of What You Share

How can you protect your privacy when you're online?
Kids share a lot of information whenever they go online -- sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. But do they understand that online privacy isn't just what they say and post? Help your students learn about their digital footprints and the steps they can take to shape what others find and see about them.

Sexting and Relationships

What are the risks and potential consequences of sexting?
It's natural for teens to be curious about their emerging sexuality. But most middle schoolers aren't prepared for the risks of exploring this in the digital age. Help students think critically about self-disclosure in relationships and practice how they'd respond to a situation where sexting -- or a request for sexting -- might happen.

Ninth Grade Internet Safety Lessons

The Big Data Dilemma

What are the benefits and drawbacks of online tracking?
Many of us are aware that we're being tracked when we go online. It's one of the ways our favorite websites and apps know how to recommend content just for us. But how much information are companies actually collecting? And what are they doing with it? Digging into the details can help us make smart decisions about our online privacy and how to protect it.

Chatting and Red Flags

How can you tell when an online relationship is risky?
Getting to know someone online, without nonverbal cues or being able to see them, can be risky -- from simple misunderstandings to manipulation. Help students navigate and avoid these situations before they go too far.

Tenth Grade Internet Safety Lessons

Risk Check for New Tech

What privacy risks do new technologies present, and how do we decide if they're worth it?
New tech, like location services and smart devices, helps make our lives easier and opens opportunities that didn't exist before. But these innovations also come with a cost -- especially to our privacy. Help students consider the benefits and drawbacks of these new technologies -- and decide whether they're ultimately worth it.

Rewarding Relationships

How can I make sure my relationships are positive and healthy?
"It's complicated" can describe many of our relationships with others, both romantic and otherwise. Add digital devices and social media to the mix, and things get complicated even further. Help students take the first step toward building healthy and rewarding friendships and romantic relationships, both online and off.

Eleventh Grade Internet Safety Lessons

How Young Is Too Young for Social Media?

At what age should people be allowed to use social media?
Kids have to be at least 13 to sign up for most social media platforms. But we know that many tweens work around the restriction. In doing so they can connect with peers and have fun, but they're also vulnerable to a number of risks -- mainly overuse and challenges to their social-emotional health. Reflecting on age-appropriate content and behaviors can help students think through social media's effects on all of us, regardless of our age.

Twelfth Grade Internet Safety Lessons

Debating the Privacy Line

Should the government have access to all your social media and cellphone data?
Often, the more information we have, the better decisions we're able to make. The power of data can benefit both individuals and governments. But who can be trusted with the responsibility of having all this data? Can governments collect and use it fairly and without violating our privacy? Help students think through this question and become thoughtful influencers of data policy and practice.