Questions raised in this section are:

  • How concerned should you be about privacy and security when using digital devices?
  • Are decisions or opinions influenced by our online activities somehow?
  • How do we help students recognize bias and fake news?

The video above gives you a glimpse of some of the ways companies make money and try to influence your life and choices you make. It is a kaleidoscope example of how the use of digital devices in your life and the lives of your students can be used by a large variety of companies to know more about you and influence your decisions.

This section will take you on a whirlwind tour of five different areas to consider that are related to teaching with digital devices. These represent a variety of current privacy and security issues, and resources that you may want to pursue further on your own time or identify to add to your curriculum in some fashion.

Plan to limit your time on each of the  5 topics below to a maximum of 5-10 minutes, knowing that you can then select ones you want to return and explore at a future time.

Be a smart and informed consumer of the Internet and wireless services, and teach others, your students, friends and family members, about being a smart and cautious consumer as well.


How many times have you fallen for a pop-up advertisement or an eye catching link that prompts you to read on? This is called clickbait and it is often paid for by the advertiser or generates income based on the number of clicks. The content is often not true, but more of a bait and hook for people browsing the Internet. 

Have you received emails such as:

  • Netflix  - streaming company is having trouble accessing your billing information, click the link to update your payment information….
  • Paypal – click to verify your account
  • “Your order has been dispatched”
  • From your bank or credit card company asking you to confirm your account or change your password for safety…
  • Check out 21things4students Buyer Beware Quest 4 Clickbait

Phone calls:

  • Social Media contacts you didn’t know you had, or phone calls from numbers you aren’t familiar with?
  • From someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration or the IRS that you are past due or your benefits are about to be suspended. A call that hangs up and you are concerned and call it back (uh oh).

Computer Viruses and Threats


  • Antivirus software is highly recommended by experts. There are some free versions, and ones you subscribe to.
  • Learn about Computer viruses, worms, and trojans for additional tips on safety and security.


Headlines are filled with titles about Fake News or Misinformation

How knowledgeable are you about this? Can you spot potentially “Fake News”

Can you identify Misleading information?

Here are some tips and lessons to improve your knowledge of this area.

Vocabulary for the Video about: Why Do Our Brains Love Fake News?

cognitive bias (n.) Limitation in thinking that causes flaws or mistakes in judgment. All humans have cognitive biases. One example is confirmation bias, a bias that leads you to trust information that confirms your beliefs and ignore information that disagrees with your beliefs.

dopamine (n.) A chemical in the brain that causes pleasant feelings of reward. When we are listening to politicians we agree with, our brains reward us with a rush of dopamine. This reinforces our desire to stay comfortable and not to challenge our beliefs.

hardwired (adj.) Genetic, inherited or part of the basic nature of something. Humans are hardwired to be social and get along with others. This makes it hard to go against the beliefs of our family or community.

peril (n.) Danger, something likely to cause pain or injury. There is peril in going against the beliefs of people in your social group.

receptive (adj.) Willing to listen, open to new ideas -You may be more receptive to changing your mind or listening to other opinions after recognizing your own cognitive biases.

KQED Lesson What Would It Take to Change Your Mind About Something You Really Believed? that accompanies this PBS (5:20) video.

Student Data

Student data privacy is an important issue. Data is collected and stored by teachers and their districts, as well as any third-party vendor the district uses for grading and demographics.

This data bank holds sensitive information: names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, gender, attendance, grading information, and parent or guardian information.


  • Be aware of the legal and ethical restrictions that impact you and model and follow safe practices. Review the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). Review "What is COPPA?"
  • ConnectSafely, an Educator's Guide to Student Data Privacy
  • Protect Your Students' Data and Privacy (video and content from Common Sense Education)
  • Review your school or district's social media guidelines.
  • Locate and review your school AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)
  • Use parental consent/opt-out forms for anything requiring parental consent. Do NOT use social media in your classroom without guidelines or consent forms.
  • If you are asked to provide access to student information by a third-party, be sure they are approved by your district for the access.
  • Always use strong passwords for any educational apps and platforms used.
  • Walk around the classroom frequently, monitoring student screens and activities when using online resources.
  • Turn off location services for your phone if using it on field trips or in the classroom.
  • Help students think about ways to manage their smartphone use. Refer to this resource from ISTE on 6 Ways.
  • Avoid posting photos of your students or classroom activities with their: faces, nametags, jersey numbers or names, names on a poster on the wall, etc. unless names are obscured and arrangements have been made with the parents.
  • Never use personal email to communicate student data.
  • Engage parents and guardians in the importance of protecting the privacy of their child's data. Watch this video about "Protecting Your Students' Privacy on Social Media' from Commonsense Media.
  • Use a Learning Management System when one is available from your district for discussion forums and students to post their work.
  • Help provide parents resources about cybersafety and cyberbullying,

Identity Theft

We have heard about people having their personal information stolen, such as social security or social insurance numbers taken to apply for credit cards, mortgages or other fraud purposes (tax and medical ID). This can damage your credit as well as cost a lot of money.

The estimated statistics in 2019 from an Identity Fraud Study found that there were 14.4 million victims in 2018. It notes that embedded chip cards are helping to contain the card fraud.

The site lists to watch for:

  • Bills for items you didn't purchase
  • Debt collection calls for accounts you didn't open
  • Denials for loan applications

Their site has a list of tips to keep in mind to protect yourself. Visit the site for a complete list, here are just a few:

  • Don't share your personal information
    • Birth Date, Social security number (don't carry the card with you), bank account information, credit card details
  • Collect your mail everyday or put it on hold when gone
  • Watch for normal billing cycles and call if they are late
  • Use 2-factor login features
  • Use a shredder to shred receipts, account statements and other private information

Secure Passwords

Watch this short video (1:16)



  • A good password manager stores, generates, and updates passwords for you with the press of a button. If you're willing to spend a few dollars a month, a password manager can sync your passwords across all your devices.

    • Invest in a password manager program. Search for current reviews on recommended programs from sites such as PCMag, CNET, Wired. There are some free choices and very reasonably priced ones recommended, even with family plans. The recommendations or ratings can change each year.

    • Some of the continually top-rated ones are:

  • Create a paper or digital version in a spreadsheet of your logins and passwords and sites that you do not keep on your computing devices.

  • Use a method like diceware to create more secure passwords

  • Never use the same password for more than one site, create and use a unique one.

  • Never share your passwords with others electronically (email or other), even with a family member or best friend.

  • Keep them in a safe place, and avoid having them on a sticky note attached to your monitor, under the keyboard, or easy to find location.

Mobile Safety and Security

(2:56 min)


Remember to take the time to add any of the resources you want to explore further to your Learning and Reflection document. Make sure you check out the Teaching and Learning Resources for K-12 on the right-side.

This completes this learning unit. We hope you found answers to the introductory questions as well as many resources you can use and implement in your own classroom setting.

  • Everyone using the Internet or cell phone leaves a digital footprint that is part of their digital life. What should you know as an educator and teach your students about theirs?
  • How concerned should you be about privacy and security when using digital devices?
  • Are decisions or opinions influenced by our online activities somehow? How do we help students recognize bias and fake news?
  • What resources are available to help you teach, and your students to learn, about being positive digital citizens?
  • Are there some helpful strategies and tips that will help me in my digital age classroom?

Move on to the Final Assignment.

Simple definitions from the KQED Learning Resource How Much Should We Worry About Deep Fake Technology?

artificial intelligence (n.) An area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence or the power of a machine to copy intelligent human behavior.  Usually called AI.

deepfakes (n.)  Phony audio or video manipulated using artificial intelligence technology

iconic (adj.) Famous, wide-recognized or respected. 

impersonate (v.) pretend to be (another person) as entertainment or in order to deceive someone.

Addressing the ISTE-E and ISTE-EL (International Standards for Technology in Education - For Educators and Education Leaders)


2. Leader

b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.

3. Citizen

c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.

d. Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.

ISTE-EL standards target the knowledge and behaviors required for leaders to empower teachers and make student learning possible.

1. Equity and Citizenship

d. Cultivate responsible online behavior, including the safe, ethical and legal use of technology.

2. Visionary Planner

e. Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges and the impact of learning with technology with other education leaders who want to learn from this work.

3. Empowering Leader

b. Build the confidence and competency of educators to put the ISTE Standards for Students and Educators into practice.

4. Systems Designer

c. Protect privacy and security by ensuring that students and staff observe effective privacy and data management policies.

5. Connected Learner

c. Use technology to regularly engage in reflective practices that support personal and professional growth.

21things4students Resource Activities for Middle Schools: 

MiTechKids lesson plans for elementary levels

Google's Be Internet Awesome - Explore Interland Game

ADULT Professional Learning

CyberWise curriculum resources for educators, some free resources, the curriculum requires a paid account.

Media Smarts Games & Lessons

Common Sense Media Lessons and Resources