Before beginning blogging or any other online activity you must set the guidelines in order to ensure your students are kept safe.

Here is an example of a comprehensive blogging contract:

Here are some excellent rules outlined by Keamac from here.

How to stay cyber safe.
  • Use your initials, use only your first name or create a special user name
  • Do not share your password with anyone (except your parents/teacher in the case of minors).
  • Remember - What you say online stays online. Don't put it on line if you don't want others to know about it. Don't say things to or about others that you wouldn't say to them face to face.
  • Think before you hit send/post.
  • Create an avatar to represent your online self.
  • Never share personal details online - address, school, phone numbers, full name.
  • Don't arrange to met someone you've only ever met online.
  • Never download anything without your parents consent.
  • Never sign up for websites, web competitions and other web offers unless your parents have checked it out first.
  • If you see something that makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, let an adult know right away.

With things like blogs, wikis, VoiceThread, etc you can do things such as:
  • Have the children create their own avatars.
  • Children use initials, nicknames, or first names only when posting.
  • Use photos without kids in or only group shots that don't identify individuals ( all this depends on your school's policy).
  • Enable comment moderation so that comments on VoiceThreads or Blog posts have to be approved by you before they appear online. ( I use this feature on my personal blogs too).
  • Set up your classroom blogs and wikis so that anything the children post has to be moderated by you first - it doesn't automatically appear online.
  • You can set blogs to be password access only. However, from personal experience, this can be quite frustrating if you are trying to build an authentic audience for your class. As long as you are moderating comments and are using initials, nicknames, etc, then your blog is probably quite safe, whilst still allowing you to build an audience for your class. That being said you need to keep your school's policies regarding internet use and online safety in mind.
  • Use educator accounts where ever they are available as these will often give you extra safety features not available in the public versions. Glogster, VoiceThread and Wikispaces all offer educator accounts. Edublogs are designed specifically for use with children/schools so they are a good choice for your classroom blog.

There are many other cybersafety resources including the excellent netsafe