Years 7 and 8


Focus: Positive online behaviours
VELS: Level 5
Objective: For students to develop an understanding of respect and positive and responsible conventions when communicating using a range of digital technologies and the internet.

Discussion prompts

  1. Revise the term ‘respect’.
  2. Look at the different technologies and discuss how each can be used repectfully – e.g. mobile phones, email, social networking, etc.
  3. Discuss different cultural conventions associated with respectful behaviours.

Teaching ideas

Teaching idea 1: Netiquette know how

Students read and discuss one of the following articles (provide students with either a print-out of the information on the sites or allow time to view online):

When students have finished reading the information they discuss the following questions:

  • Were there any new tips they learned from their reading?
  • What connections can be made to their experiences?
  • What tips could they add?
  • From the three readings, what are some respectful behaviours that are common to all?

Teaching idea 2: Introduction to CyberNetrix

CyberNetrix is an online internet safety resource for students in Years 7–9. A teacher resource guide and fully scoped activities are available. See: Teacher Resources

Ask students to go to CyberNetrix to develop their character profile and customise their room. See: CyberNetrix

Allow students time to access the information that is linked to the various devices in their room which includes:

  • Buzz on identity theft
  • Internet banking
  • Staying cybersafe – safety hints
  • Keeping your computer secure
  • Who’re you going to call? – contacts for advice and support.

Note to teachers: The videos included in the case studies section are also found in another resource, Wise Up To It, which is included in the Cyber Teach Toolkit program for Years 9-12. Teachers should preview these videos if they wish to use them with their class as some may be not suitable for their students.

After students have had sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the information in their room, ask students to complete the RL–WU? Activity


Who am I online? Who are my friends online?

Focus: What’s real online?
VELS: Level 5
Objective: For students to develop an understanding of how avatars and handles can be used to protect their identity online and minimise risks in an online environment; how to protect their online reputation; how to develop appropriate avatars and handles; and about the potential dangers of online ‘friends’.

Discussion prompts

Note to teachers: In preparation for this task, you may wish to ask prior to the session whether any students have an avatar they would like to share with the class. Check for appropriateness of the avatar and the site to which it is linked.

  • Ask if any of the students have an avatar or a nickname (or handle)? How did they decide on what these would be? When would they use an avatar or a handle?
  • How can the use of avatars and handles help keep us safe online and minimise harm?
  • What would you want your avatar or handle to say about you?
  • How might an avatar or a handle be inappropriate or provocative?

Teaching ideas

Teaching idea 1: Meet my avatar

If possible, allow students time to create an avatar, particularly if there are many students who do not have one. Some websites you can use:

Note to teachers: In using any online tools with students, teachers should always check whether users must register first, what personal information might be required, the details of the privacy policy, how the personal information will be used and whether there are any age requirements to register. Teachers should also ensure that any advertising that appears is appropriate.

Teaching idea 2: Protecting your reputation

View the clip: Think Before You Post

  • What were the repercussions (or results) of the images that were posted online by the girl in the video?
  • What immediate steps could be taken to have the images removed?
  • What might the long-term impact of this incident be for the girl?

Have students read the following two articles:

  • Are there changes or additional ideas you have about what the long-term impact could be on the girl in the video?
  • Is there other advice you would add?
  • Develop an advertisement in video, audio or print format, to highlight the importance of young people protecting their digital reputation.

Teaching idea 3: Online and offline relationships

On ACMA Cyber[smart:] Lower secondary unit – A balanced approach to using technology, read: Activities 4 and 5 – Online and Offline Relationships

Further resources


Protecting my online identity

Focus: My online identity
VELS: Level 5
Objective: For students to develop an understanding of differences between personal information that should be kept private and information that is safe to share, and strategies that they can use to protect their online identity. Students demonstrate skills in developing appropriate online profiles.

Teaching ideas

Teaching idea 1: Teens and online identity

Discussion prompts

  1. What is it that makes Facebook and My Space so appealing?
  2. Given that universities and businesses might run a check on applicants, how might that impact on your postings?
  3. Should universities and employment agents have the right to apply checks on applicants’ Facebook and social networking sites?
  4. Is Facebook just another temporary fad?
  5. In your opinion, how else might we see Facebook used in the future?
  6. How could you use a social networking site like Facebook to promote potential career opportunities in the future?

Teaching idea 2: How safe is your profile?

  • View the NetSmartz video: Profile Penalty
  • Have students create a cause and effect map indicating some of the effects of having inappropriate profiles or information on personal blogs, social networking sites etc., such as those highlighted in the video. (Note to teachers: You may wish to have students work in groups for this task using an online tool such as Intel’s Seeing Reason). This tool will then allow students to compare their maps with other groups).

Teaching idea 3: ACMA: CyberNetrix – Profiling activity

See: Profiling Activity

Teaching Idea 4: ACMA: Cybersmart networking 

See: Cybersmart Networking

Students work online, in real time, with community professionals and are taken through a series of issues they may experience when connecting through social networking programs.

In the activity, a tight-knit group of friends set up a secret social networking group sharing comments about others, personal information and photos with anonymity. Things get out of hand when others get access to the group and the original members are faced with the consequences.

As the scenario unfolds, the students are required to discuss the issues and make decisions about the responsible course of action. By the end of the activity students will be familiar with the issues they may face in the online social networking environment and how to avoid them.

Teaching Idea 5: How to protect your reputation online

How to Protect Your Promotion Online – Discusses the use of social media and online presence in a professional sense. The following resources can be shown to reinforce the growth in online image:

Share the page and discuss the strategies presented with students. Have them Google search an individual and have them categorise results as positive or negative from a future employer’s perspective.

Further resources


Protecting my online privacy

Focus: My Online Privacy
VELS: Level 5
Objective: For students to develop an understanding of the importance of keeping passwords secure, how digital footprints are created through the use of technology and the ways in which they could compromise their online privacy and security, and strategies they can use to protect their online identity.

Discussion prompts

Discuss/revise use of passwords and password protection, for example:

  1. The importance of not sharing passwords
  2. What to do if password is forgotten or lost
  3. How to protect passwords
  4. How to best manage passwords.

Teaching ideas

Teaching idea 1: Broken friendship

View and discuss the video: Broken Friendship

Teaching idea 2: – How strong are your passwords?

  1. Ask students to make a list of the devices and online accounts they use that require passwords.
  2. Have students read the examples and advice from the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team on creating strong passwords. See: Australian Computer Emergency Response Team
  3. Have students assess the passwords they use against the recommendations highlighted in the reading. How many of their current passwords meet the suggested criteria for strong passwords? What changes would they make?
  4. As an alternative to the reading, students could test their passwords in Password Meter.

Teaching idea 3: Digital dossier

  1. View the video: Digital Dossier. Discuss briefly. The video, created in 2008, highlights electronic footprints that could make up a digital dossier over a lifetime… what would a student’s digital dossier look like in detail over 24 hours?
  2. Ask students to create a Mind Map using an online tool such as FreeMind, illustrating all the ways in which they have used technology over the past 24 hours, for example emails sent and/or received, music, video or games downloaded, use of instant messaging, uploads to photo or video sharing sites, use of gaming or social networking sites, internet searches etc. How might any of the activities on their mind map allow others to track their activities? How might others be able to invade their privacy, for example, by forwarding or inappropriately manipulating images they have sent or posted online or tracking them to their home address?
  3. View the NetSmartz video: Tracking Teresa. Based on this video, ask students to highlight all the elements on their mind map which may provide clues to others about their identity and so jeopardise their privacy. What steps could they take to minimise these risks?

Teaching idea 4: Read the small print!

  1. In Digital Dossier, the narrator highlights how as Andy grows older and starts to use the internet independently, he adds to his digital dossier by filling out online forms, even providing details that are optional rather than required. How aware are students of the tracks they leave behind when joining sites or filling out online forms?
  2. Have students work in pairs, with each choosing a favourite or popular website. Ask them to view the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy for their websites. After students have had sufficient time, discuss:
    • Why do websites have Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies – who do they protect and how?
    • What personal information does the website collect and how will the information be used?
    • Does the website host pass on the information collected to other web sites?
    • Is there an age requirement for users to register to the site?
    • Was the language used for the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy easy to understand?
      Students should talk to their parents/carers or a trusted adult if they have registered for a site or completed an online form they are concerned about.

Teaching idea 5: Social network profiles

These social networking profiles have been created to stimulate discussion about safe and potentially unsafe practices and features on social networking sites. They, together with the accompanying questions, have been designed to highlight ways in which users can protect themselves through appropriate use of the technology and also through choices they make online. See: Social Networking Detective

The Lesson Plan is also available from this site, see: Social Networking Detective

Teaching idea 6: Social networking basics

This modern adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood is an engaging animation with strong messages for online safety using Social Media.

Episode 1

  • Have you ever had strangers / impersonators contact you online?
  • How can you determine if someone is a genuine friend?
  • What personal information should you always protect?

Episode 2

  • When is the last time you checked your privacy settings?

Further resources

Students could also explore: Secure Password Generator

Protecting myself from cyberbullying

Focus: Cyberbullying
VELS: Level 5
Objective: For students to: identify cyberbullying; recognise the impact that cyberbullying can have on people; identify behaviours that will minimise the risk of cyberbullying; develop strategies to minimise the risk of negative situations online; identify outside organisations which have been set up to provide assistance.

Note to teachers: The discussion to introduce the topic of cyberbullying should be contextualised within the school’s Student Engagement Policy and the proactive steps to prevent any form of bullying, including cyberbullying.

Teaching ideas

Teaching ideas 1 and 2: Let’s Fight it Together

The tasks for Cyberbullying at Level 5 are based on the online resource kit Let’s Fight it Together: What we can all do to Prevent Cyberbullying

The supporting lesson plans have been designed as two 45-minute lessons.

"Let’s Fight It Together is a comprehensive teaching resource including a seven minute film and a user guide with lesson plans for teachers, and tips for parents and carers. The film depicts the story of a teenager who becomes the target of bullying via the internet and his mobile phone. The film shows how cyberbullying might occur, who it involves, the impact it can have, and how it might be resolved. Let's Fight It Together can help young people, their parents or carers and teachers better understand the issues surrounding cyberbullying."

See: Let's Fight It Together

This game follows on from the cyberbullying film Let's Fight It Together to personalise and reinforce learning from that film. This game allows you to log on to a computer and create your own character that goes to a school where cyberbullying has taken place.

You have the opportunity to experience a day at school with Joe, the main character, and make decisions about how to help him as he experiences cyberbullying. You are challenged to be a responsible digital citizen and find out more about keeping safe online.

See: Are you a Responsible Digital Citizen?

Teaching idea 3: Cyberbullying – Broken Friendship

View the video: Broken Friendship

Using the video as a discussion starter, discuss with students the importance of keeping passwords private and the potential for cyberbullying to occur through the sharing of passwords.

Utilise the activity cards at: Broken Friendship

Teaching idea 4: Terrible tEXt

View the NSTeens video: Cyberbullying

Using the video as a discussion starter, ask students to brainstorm the strategies they could use if being cyberbullied through mobile phone use. Discuss the following strategies: 

Using this information, have students develop a personal plan of what they would do if they were receiving unwelcome calls.

Teaching idea 5: So what should I do if I’m cyberbullied?

  • Following on from Teaching Ideas 3 and 4, ask students what strategies are available to them if they are cyberbullied?
  • Compare the class list with the tips found at: Cyber[smart:] Teens' Cyberbullying
  • Explain to students that there are outside organisations which have been set up to provide assistance. Highlight the information on assistance at:

Teaching idea 6: Student Action

In 2011, Year 9 students from selected schools took part in the Digital Demons Project. This project empowered students to take action against cyberbullying by researching, planning and acting at a local level. Use the following resources hosted in the FUSE portal to develop a school-based student action project similar to that of Digital Demons. The ‘client’ could be a local community group, sporting organisation or business.

Further resources