Internet Essay Topics and Ideas (Inspired by Safer Internet Day)— Children today begin using devices when they are infants or toddlers, and they are often interacting online with others by the time they start school.
Navigating the complex world of the Internet can be overwhelming, even for an adult, so it’s important for teachers and parents to work together in order to make sure children know how to stay safe and be responsible online.
One of the best ways to broach the subject of Internet safety and responsibility is through writing. Internet essay topics can help your students think more critically about what it means to be a digital citizen and will introduce them to the various considerations that need to be made anytime that they are online.
These topics and prompts can be used in any classroom, from elementary classrooms where students are just beginning to learn about communicating online to high school classrooms where students spend the vast majority of their time interacting with their peers on social media.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are many facets involved with teaching Internet safety. The Internet safety topics that we have compiled cover a variety of issues, ranging from being an effective and responsible digital citizen to the dangers of communicating with strangers online and the impact and permanence of online posts.
The best part about these topics and prompts is that they are flexible and versatile. You can customize them in order to meet the needs of your classroom and to make them suitable for the specific age group of students that you work with.
With each passing year, students become more dependent on their devices and more comfortable navigating the Internet on their own. It’s critically important to teach students about Internet safety from an early age so that they can make responsible decisions as they maneuver through the online world throughout their adolescence.
Use these Internet essay topics to encourage your students to start thinking about how they interact with others online and about how they can use the Internet in order to find valid, valuable, and factual information.
Internet Essay Topics
(And… Safer Internet Day Journal Prompts Ideas)
- Do you think people have a responsibility to act as good “digital citizens” when they use the Internet? Why or why not?
- Should there be restrictions on the types of Internet access that people receive? Why or why not?
- What are some of the challenges in making the Internet a safer place? Choose one and brainstorm how it could be addressed.
- Do you believe people act differently on the Internet because of anonymity? Why or why not?
- Do you think cyber-bulling is more damaging, as damaging, or less damaging than in-person bullying? Why?
- What types of social media do you use? How frequently do you use them? What do you like best about them?
- What is one thing you can start doing regularly to make the Internet a safer place? Explain your idea and what it would do.
- Do your parents have any rules or restrictions on how you use the Internet? Do you agree with their policies? Why or why not?
- What is the difference between a reliable Internet source and an unreliable one? How can you distinguish between the two?
- What is the greatest danger the Internet poses to the average person’s life? Why is this threat so severe?
- What is the hardest part of using the Internet as a child/teen in today’s world? Why?
- Have you or someone you know ever gotten in trouble for something done on the Internet? Explain what happened and how it could have been avoided.
- Do you believe things on the Internet are really there forever? Why or why not?
- Should lawmakers regulate Internet behavior and practices? Why or why not?
- Should individuals and organizations be held to different standards of behavior when they use the Internet? Why or why not? And if so, what types of differences might be appropriate?
- Unfortunately, the Internet can lead to the formation and spread of radicalization and hate groups. What are some ways people can work against this?
- How do you feel knowing that colleges and future employers may view your social media accounts and Google you? Does this knowledge impact what you choose to post? Why or why not?
- Have you ever posted something online that you wouldn’t want someone in your real life to see? Why? How would you feel if it were accidentally found?
- Write about a time when a friend posted something (positive or negative) online that changed your perception of him or her.
- Imagine that you need to teach someone how to find credible information on the Internet. What would you tell him or her to do?
- What do you do when you see something hateful or inappropriate on the Internet? How else could you respond in order to promote a safer Internet for all people?
- Have you ever felt afraid or uncomfortable with something you saw or experienced online? What happened? Could it have been prevented in any way?
- In an ideal world, what would a “safe” Internet look like? Describe it.
- Do you think the Internet will ever be a “safe” place? Why or why not?
- What are some activities and behaviors that make the Internet an unsafe place? Write about a time when you witnessed one and how it made you feel.
- Do you feel comfortable giving out personal information online? Why or why not? Is there a limit to what you’ll share?
- Have you ever talked about someone behind his or her back online (such as through a “private” social media message)? Did you worry he or she would find out? How could you be sure he or she wouldn’t?
- What kinds of things do you believe should qualify as “hate speech” when we talk about eliminating hate speech from the Internet? Why is hate speech so damaging and dangerous?
- How do you think the landscape of the Internet will change by the time you’re an adult? Do you think it will change for the better? Why or why not?
- Have you ever seen something online that seemed like “fake news”? Write about your experience.
- Do you think having so much access to the Internet makes it easier or harder to grow up in your generation? Why?
- What would your life be like if you didn’t have access to the Internet? What would change? What would stay the same?
- Is there anything you would say to someone online that you wouldn’t say in person? Why or why not?
- Do you feel comfortable discussing Internet safety and concerns with your parents and teachers? Why or why not?
- If you could change any one thing about the Internet to make it a safer place, what would you change—and why?
While you can assign your students an Internet safety essay at any point during the year, you may want to save a few Internet essay topics for Safer Internet Day. (I invite you to learn more about Safer Internet Day USA.)
Safer Internet Day is celebrated each year on the first Tuesday in February. This holiday, which was created in 2005 and is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, aims to raise awareness about important Internet safety topics. Some topics that are addressed and discussed in connection with Safer Internet Day include cyber-bullying, fake news, media and literacy and more.
As Safer Internet Day approaches, you may want to consider incorporating extra assignments and activities into your lesson plans that focus on Internet safety. It’s a good time to reinforce the importance of being kind, aware, safe and responsible online.
Given the fact that these Internet essay topics are particularly relevant to your students’ lives, they are going to be very interested in considering each prompt and drafting a high-quality journal entry. With prompts like these available, your students will always feel motivated to keep on writing!
Until next time, write on…
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