Be True to Your Selfie

Digital Citizenship
Three multiracial students taking a selfi


Selfies are everywhere and kids love to take them. But when is it ok to post or text them? What kinds of comments are appropriate? Students will become aware of the issues of privacy for themselves and others when posting photos and comments online.

Students will:

  • Be aware of the safety and ethical aspects of posting or sharing photos and comments online.
  • Use responsible and respectful behavior when posting or sharing anything online.
  • Be able to respect their own privacy and that of others when posting selfies.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that when posting photos or comments online it is important to use good judgment.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is using some type of technology to bully a person, such as sending messages that are intimidating or threatening, or posting inappropriate photos of another.

  2. Selfie: A selfie is a photo that you take of yourself or with others, usually with a smartphone or webcam, and usually posted online.

  3. Privacy: Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet.

  4. Digital Identity: Digital Identity is what is shown and shared about you online. This may be represented in photos you are identified in, social media posts or activities you have engaged in or by comments others make about you.

  5. Online Respect: Online respect is showing respect by treating others in a positive manner through your actions through messaging and posts.

To prepare for this lesson:

See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4student website in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

A. Depending on time constraints, you may or may not want to have the selfie gallery walk at the beginning.


  1. Ask all students take a selfie on their device...anyway they want. DO NOT TELL THEM THAT THEY WILL SHARE THEM OUT.
  2. Have students do a gallery walk of everyone’s selfies.
  3. After they do the gallery walk, ask them, “Did you feel comfortable with everyone looking at your picture?”
  4. Sometimes students don’t realize who their audience is that will see the picture.  
  5. Talk about parents sharing embarrassing pics. How does that make you feel?


  1. Have a class discussion: Why do we take selfies? While selfies are fun and usually make us feel good, we need to be careful of the kind of selfies we take, where we take them, who is in them, and who we share them with.
  2. Brainstorm together: Where are places that it may be disrespectful to take a selfie? (memorial sites, funerals, places that prohibit photos) What could happen if you take a picture anyway (trouble at school, banned from visiting)?
  3. Discuss appropriate vs inappropriate selfies? Consider age levels when discussing this. Selfies should not show violence or be threatening. Selfies should not poke fun at another. Selfies should show respect for one’s self and each other.
  4. Have students help understand the vocabulary and give positive and negative examples to develop the concepts.
  5. Discuss comments on texts or sites. Have you ever received a mean comment on a selfie you posted? How did it make you feel? What did you do? What can you do if you receive mean comments in the future (save the evidence, report the website, tell me or another trusted adult)? 
  6. Have you ever made mean comments on someone else’s selfie? Why? How do you think that person felt?
  7. Talk about being safe online and ways to respect others while taking selfies. 
  8. Watch this video on selfie etiquette Safer Kids Online | Sensible Selfies
  9. Show the story: Watch the story, We’re All Wonders 


  1. Have each student take another selfie, (or use a selfie taken) and copy and paste it into the Instagram sheet provided. You can use these free downloads to attach a picture.
    iPhone Smartphone template 
    Instagram template 


  1. Add a kindness quote to it or type one sentence about how you will be a positive digital citizen
  2. Post five selfies each week in your class. Have post-it notes out. Allow time each day for students to write positive comments on each selfie.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Post five selfies each week in your class. Have post it notes out. Allow time each day for students to write positive comments on each selfie.  

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Digital Citizen
2a. Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
2b. Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
2c. Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
2d. Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.

Devices with the capability to take a selfie. 

Browsers: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

BrainPOP on Digital Citizenship

Instagram template

iPhone/Smartphone template

Safer Kids Online | Sensible Selfies - YouTube

Teachers Pay Teachers

We're all Wonders video

  • Create a digital interactive e-book to introduce yourself using the lesson plan Selfies: It's All About Me!

  • Write a paragraph of how you would feel if a photo that made you embarrassed was posted for people to see online.

  • Draw, paint, or create a selfie (even 3-D print).

  • Talk about altering and editing photos.

Take a poll of who posts selfies to social media.

Pick a scientist and create what a selfie would look like and what they might post.

What if A historical figure could take a selfie? Where would it be and what would it look like?

This task card was created by Courtney Conley, Utica Community Schools, January 2018. Updated October 2023.