Not only in the US, Cybercrime is a big issue in Japan as well. Especially for kids, the Internet can be seen as one aspect of the ‘real’ world but it is not exactly true. When using the Internet, even adults can meet a trouble which could rarely happen in the real world, for example, hacking, phishing, cyberbullying, peer harassment, child pornography, and so on and so forth. Of course, by accessing this virtual world, students can communicate and socialize with people all around the world; however, they also have a risk of being involved with crimes. To prevent them from the risk, as a teacher, you can refer to Common Sense Media website (http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tech-talk-beyond-internet-safety#tip_answer_1) which discusses 5 things to keep kids safe in the virtual world.
1. Keep personal information private.
2. Use privacy settings and don't share passwords
3. Kids need to think before they post because anything can be copied, and sent broadly
These are fundamental and the most important rules in the virtual world. If your information is stolen, your identity can also be soon found and stolen (identity theft). As an adult, you can help kids set up their passwords as it is hard for people to guess.
4. What goes around comes around: no humiliating posts
5. It's best to self-reflect before self-revealing
I believe students should get to know the virtual world before joining in. In doing so, teachers need to have students think what kind of internet crime can happen and why. Identity theft can happen when you write your information on your blog space carelessly. Then, if you write everything you think without caring about what others might think after reading it, what will happen? It might hurt somebody. By thinking critically, they gradually understand that they are exposed to the risk of hurting somebody or being hurt by somebody. Of course, kids should respect for themselves, but they also need to respect others’ privacy and identity as much as in the real world.
These are the significant rules which all of us should know when we make use of the Internet appropriately in class.The Internet can be an appropriate place to practice communication for kids, if teachers can support the students adequately.