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Online Safety

Online Safety

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is working to promote online safety awareness. This page of our website offers a collection of resources, tools, and information to empower various stakeholders.  This information is intended to assist students, educators, parents, and administrators in making informed and responsible decisions regarding technology usage both inside and outside of the classroom. In recent years, there has been a shift from endorsing merely 'acceptable' to endorsing 'responsible' utilization of digital resources, representing a change in expectations for the use of digital tools within and beyond the classroom. Safeguarding children online stands as a fundamental objective for school districts, aligning with the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan and the Wisconsin Information and Technology Literacy Standards. In today's world, technology is an integral part of students' lives and it is essential for all of us to ensure their secure and responsible handling of digital assets.

Age Appropriate Content

Age Appropriate Content

Encouraging children to only utilize age-appropriate content online is crucial for their safety, well-being, educational development, and overall healthy growth. It allows them to explore the digital world in a controlled and constructive manner, preparing them to become responsible and informed digital citizens as they grow older. Parents, guardians, and educators play a vital role in ensuring children's online experiences are age-appropriate and beneficial.  There are laws and safeguards in place to prevent children from accessing content on the web that is not age appropriate.  However, it is imperative that young people do not lie about their age to access apps and tools that are deemed too mature for them.



Cyberbullying refers to the use of digital communication tools and technologies, such as social media, text messages, emails, or online forums, to harass, intimidate, threaten, or harm individuals or groups. It involves repeated and deliberate aggressive behavior intended to cause emotional distress, embarrassment, or harm to the target. Cyberbullying can take various forms, including spreading false rumors, sharing private information without consent, sending hurtful or threatening messages, posting humiliating content, or impersonating someone to damage their reputation. It often occurs in online spaces where individuals can hide their identity and engage in harmful behavior anonymously, making it a significant concern in the digital age, particularly among adolescents and young adults.

Screen Time Balance


We've all heard about the dangers of too much screen time.  Screens themselves aren't the problem.  While we must strike a balance between physical movement and sedentary activities for certain, the phrase 'screen time' can be misleading.  What is truly called for is a shift in thinking about the quality of the time spent on screens.  Consumer screen time or passive screen time is about consuming content created by others.  Many kids grow up being digital consumers for the most part.  This does not gain them an understanding of how technology works and should be closely monitored for use in moderation. On the flip side, creator screen time involves actively producing new content. This could include learning something new, coding, making digital music, creating animation, and/or digital photography and image editing.  While both types of screen time have their place in the digital world, individuals should strike a balance between the two to ensure a healthy and fulfilling relationship with technology.

Digital Footprint (Digital Tattoo)


A digital footprint, also known as a digital tattoo, refers to the trail of information and data that individuals create and leave behind online as they interact with digital platforms and services. This footprint includes activities such as social media posts, online searches, website visits, and digital communications. It is a permanent and often publicly accessible record that can have implications for one's online reputation, privacy, and security. Managing and being aware of your digital footprint is important, as it can influence how others perceive you and impact your online presence.

Digital Relationships


Many people use technology to communicate, collaborate, share, investigate and review.  Since technology is integrated into kids' everyday lives, they are also using it to build relationships.  On this page, you will find information and resources on how to educate students about proper use of the Internet and mobile technologies in a world where we can be connected to millions of people instantly.  

Open Communication


Open communication between trusted adults and children regarding online safety is essential for equipping children with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the digital world safely while maintaining a trusting and supportive parent-child relationship.  Open communication allows for awareness, education, trust, support, guidance, supervision, and a strengthening in relationships.  In addition, open communication helps children develop digital resilience by teaching them how to handle online conflicts and negative experiences. They can learn to seek help from trusted adults when they encounter challenging situations online.  Lastly, as technology continues to evolve, keeping communication open allows parents and children to adapt to new online platforms, apps, and trends, ensuring that safety measures remain up-to-date.

Privacy and Security


Data privacy and security for children are vital for their protection, well-being, and the responsible use of technology. It helps create a safer online environment where children can explore, learn, and socialize without undue risks.  Our youngest online consumers and creators require protection from cyberbullying, grooming, and exposure to inappropriate content.  In the digital age, children's online activities are often tracked and analyzed for various purposes, including targeted advertising. Protecting their data ensures that they are not subjected to manipulative content or advertising that could negatively impact their mental health and self-esteem. Children's personal information can also be valuable to identity thieves. Protecting their data from unauthorized access or breaches helps safeguard their financial future and prevents the misuse of their identity. Data privacy empowers children and their parents or guardians to have more control over how their information is used. It allows them to make informed choices about sharing personal data and gives them the right to withdraw consent when needed.

Safe Gaming


The online gaming landscape is constantly evolving, so staying informed and engaged with your child's gaming activities is essential to ensuring their safety and well-being. Open communication and a trusting relationship with your child are key factors in keeping them safe while gaming online.  Online gaming comes with risks and responsibilities on the part of the child.  However, these risks can be reduced when parents utilize parental controls available on platforms and devices marketed to children.  Monitoring to ensure that games are age appropriate can be made easier by utilizing game ratings and advice from sites like Common Sense Media.  Online friends make gaming a social and fun activity but strangers can ruin the fun.  Kids need to report and suspicious or inappropriate behavior to a trusted adult as well as the game's platform.  Two factor authentication for logins as well as password protected in-game purchases also keep the family's data more secure.  Parents and guardians should keep themselves updated about the games their children is playing and hte online communities of which they are a part.  Understanding of experiences and potential risks make for a safer gaming environment for all.

Social Media


It's important for young people to use social media mindfully and responsibly, balancing its benefits with potential drawbacks. Parents and educators can play a role in guiding them to make informed choices in their online activities.  While social media can offer connectivity, information, education, and networking it can also be a land mine for potential risks.  Social media platforms provide outlets for creative expression through photos, videos, and written content.  In addition, it can raise awareness about social issues and provide a platform for activism.  However, some of the pitfalls that can be encountered while using social media include privacy concerns, cyberbullying, mental health issues, time wasting, negative self comparisons, and low self esteem.  It is imperative for children, as well as the adults in their lives that they look up to, strive to minimize the negative effects of social media.

For questions about this information, contact Amanda Albrecht (608) 267-1071