Staying Safe When Visiting Websites

Lesson 4 (K-2)

Materials & Objectives

  • Chalkboard or white board
  • A long piece of string or tape
  • Red, yellow, and green markers or crayons
  • Copy the Website Traffic Light Student Handout, one for each student. (Attached below)

We will learn to recognize websites that are good for us to visit. I will create a poster that explains the different types of websites I might encounter.

Warm-up (5 minutes)

ASK: What does it mean to be safe?

Students’ answers will vary.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term

  • safe: free from danger or harm

Frequent Small Group Purposeful Talk: When you walk down the street or play in your neighborhood without a trusted adult there, how do you stay safe?
Gather all responses from students, but highlight these points:

  • Don’t go to places you don’t know
  • Don’t talk to strangers
  • Stay out of trouble
  • Follow the rules

TELL students that just as they should stay safe in the real world, they should stay safe when they go into the online world (visiting websites). Make parallels between the answers students gave you about their neighborhood and the online world.

EXPLAIN to students that one way they can keep safe online is by using the website traffic light. A regular traffic light tells people who are driving cars when they need to go, slow down, or stop. In the same way, the website traffic light tells people who are visiting websites whether or not it’s okay to go somewhere.

Introduce the Website Traffic Light (10 minutes)

DRAW a website traffic light on the white board using the illustration from the Website Traffic Light Student Handout.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term

  • right: something that’s appropriate and fitting

Explain to students that the website traffic light will help them choose sites that are just right for them.

EXPLAIN to students the meaning of the green, yellow, and red traffic lights. Use the talking points below.

Green – GOOD!

  • Look for sites that are “green” and bookmark them so you can visit your favorites! (You may have to explain and demonstrate how to bookmark a site.)
  • A “green” website is: (1) A good site for kids your age to visit, (2) Fun, with things for you to do and see, (3) Has appropriate words, (4) Doesn’t let you talk to people you don’t know.
  • ASK: What are some “green” websites you visit? How do you know they’re safe and just right for you? Guide students to share websites they visit, exploring how they are “green” sites.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term

  • caution: to be careful

Yellow – CAUTION!

  • Before you go to a site you think is yellow, get permission from adult you trust.
  • A “yellow” website is: (1) A site you are not sure is right for you, (2) One that asks for information such as who you are, where you live, your phone number or email address, etc., (3) A place where you are allowed to communicate freely with others.
  • ASK: Have you ever come across a “yellow” site? How did you take caution? Guide students to name sites they have encountered that they were unsure about visiting, and have them share their experiences.

Red – STOP!

  • Avoid a site you think is “red.” If you’re unsure, ask a trusted adult.
  • A “red” website is: (1) A site that is not right for you, (2) A place you might have gone to by accident, (3) Filled with things that are for older kids or adults.
  • ASK: Have you ever been to a “red” website you knew was not right for you? How could you tell? Guide students to share sites they might have visited that were inappropriate for them. Keep in mind they may have visited these sites either deliberately or accidentally. Students may talk about having a “gut feeling” that tells them the site is not appropriate for them. Invite them to share strategies they used to avoid the site, such as clicking the back button, closing the page, or telling an adult about it.

Go, Caution, Stop! Use the Website Traffic Light (15 minutes)

DISTRIBUTE the Website Traffic Light Student Handout, one per student. (Link at the bottom of the page)

READ ALOUD the handout instructions. Have students work together in pairs or small groups to complete the handout.

INVITE students to share answers to each statement on the handout. The correct answers are:

  1. This site is just right for me. (GREEN)
  2. I should get permission from an adult I trust. (YELLOW)
  3. There are fun things for me to do and see. (GREEN)
  4. This site is not right for me. (RED)
  5. I’d like to go there, but I should be cautious. (YELLOW)
  6. The site has things for older kids or adults, but not for me. (RED)

Play the Website Traffic Light Game (10 minutes)

HAVE students line up in a row on one side of the room. Place a string or piece of tape as a line on the floor on the opposite side of the room where you’ll stand, parallel to the students’ row. You’ll be playing a game similar to the popular “Red Light, Green Light” children’s game.

INTRODUCE students to the rules of the game:

  • For each green website, you move forward two steps.
  • For each yellow site, you move forward one step.
  • For each red site, you can’t move.
  • If you get an answer wrong (i.e., you move the wrong amount of steps), you must go back to where you stood before and take one step back.

READ ALOUD each of the following statements about pretend websites students might visit. After each statement, students take the amount of steps they think is correct. Reveal the correct answer after each statement, prompting students to explain why something is red, yellow, or green. The students who make it to the line at the front of the room first are the winners.

  • You went to the games-o-rama website by accident and a stranger asks you your name and age.
    RED -- no steps
  • The Wacky Bunny site is funny! Even your grandma would think it’s just right.
    GREEN -- forward two steps
  • You are searching for pictures of hearts but come across a site that makes you feel uncomfortable.
    RED -- no steps
  • A site for your favorite TV show has fun things for kids your age to do.
    GREEN -- forward two steps
  • There’s a kids sports site you visited that allows people to chat with each other.
    YELLOW -- forward one step
  • You’re on a game site where a screen pops up and asks for your email address.
    YELLOW -- forward one step
  • Your teacher tells you to visit a site where you can learn things about giraffes
    GREEN -- forward two steps

REMIND students after the game that just as they stay safe by following traffic lights, they should aim to stay safe online by choosing sites that are just right for them. They should also ask an adult for permission to visit a site they think is yellow, and avoid visiting sites that are red.

Wrap-up (5 minutes)

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives.

Frequent Small Group Purposeful Talk: How is staying safe in your neighborhood and staying safe online similar?

Guide students to explain the similarities. For instance, in both worlds they don’t talk to strangers, don’t go places they’re not familiar with, and stay out of trouble.

ASK: What would a “green light” website look like?
Students should recognize that “green” websites are sites that are good for kids their age to visit. They are usually fun to visit, with things for kids to do and see. They have appropriate words, and do not let kids talk to people they don’t know.

ASK: How would a “yellow light” or “red light” webite look like? What should you do if you come across one of these sites?
Emphasize to students that they should always ask an adult they trust if they are unsure whether a site is right. Students should find an adult if they come across sites that: ask for information about who you are, where you like, your phone number, or email address; allow kids to communicate freely with others; have things for older kids or adults.

Critical Writing:

In groups, have students create a website traffic light poster. On a large sheet of paper, students draw a traffic light. Within each light, have students write tips to explain what a green, yellow, or red website is. Hang the posters in the classroom and point out all the ways that students can choose “green” sites that are just right for them.