The role of school librarians as internet safety educators is increasing

Many students are aware about possibilities that internet provides, however not everybody is considering the risks. This is the impression from school librarians who educate their students about the ways to stay safe online. Internet safety is the focus of Safer Internet Week, celebrated during 6-10 February.

Mrs. Nijolė Čepukėnienė, the head of Užupis primary school library in Ukmergė, notices that today the role of school librarian is not limited to the book search; it has expanded to being a friendly consultant to students. “We always try to remind our students about the importance of privacy on the internet. Why it is not OK to reveal all your personal stuff, like name and surname, home address or parents workplaces. We also pay a special attention encouraging children to be friendly online and respect others” – says Mrs. Nijolė.

The engagement from teachers and parents is very important as well. “We need to understand that child’s activities online will only increase. Many parents themselves spend a lot of time online, so they can perfectly understand the risks that internet brings and must educate their kids. What I can advise to my colleagues in other schools is to cooperate more closely with teachers, that makes internet safety education more interesting” – adds Mrs. Nijolė.

The research of Microsoft reveals that one third of research participants encounter virtual risks every week. Microsoft Lithuania recommends following four main rules to stay safe online:

- Be more careful when browsing. Malware usually hides in low rated websites or sources; therefore caution is needed when opening doubtful links or e-mails from strangers.

- Take care of your online identity and do not share excess information, which can be used by criminals.

- Protect your devices. Regular updates, firewall and antivirus programs will keep you devices protected from potential risks and losses.

- Share safely. At home, at school or work we constantly share data, so it is important to use strong passwords, trustful data sharing platforms and regularly back up files.

More info about Safer Internet Day can be found here.