Why Internet Safety is Essential

Why Internet Safety is Essential (WISE) is a classroom program designed for students in grades 4-6.

This program, which uses interactive teaching techniques, educates on the dangers of the Internet, describes potential consequences, and tells students the best way to respond to cyber-bullying.

Two weeks prior to the in-school presentation, students are given a survey to determine their knowledge about these critical issues. A post-program survey is used to determine changes in students’ knowledge. Survey results are compiled by Southeastern Program Evaluation, inc., which is affiliated with the University of Kentucky’s Prevention Research Center, and shared with school officials.

Today’s increasing reliance on the Internet for education and communication has many positive benefits. But, the constant, immediate, and often anonymous nature afforded by the Internet, social networking, and gaming sites also creates many risks.

  • 95 percent of teens (ages 13-17) report they have a smartphone or access to one.
  • 45 percent of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis; 44 percent report being on-line several times a day.
  • Most popular online platforms among teens: YouTube (85 percent), Instagram (72 percent), Snapchat (69 percent), Facebook (51 percent).

— Source: “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018,” Pew Research Center

As children spend more time online, there is greater opportunity for them to become exposed to negative influences – such as substance abuse. In addition, they are more likely to become a target of cyber-predators. And, the permanency of Internet posts can have negative impacts well into adulthood.


UNITE piloted WISE during the 2016-17 school year for schools served by its UNITE Service Corps members. The program is currently available to all counties served by UNITE.