FBI Safe Online Surfing


Additional Resources for Educators

Note for returning teachers: The FBI-SOS backend system for managing classes—along with the student exam on sos.fbi.gov—have been redesigned using new technology. The functionality remains the same. Please refer to the updated Teacher’s Guide for a complete explanation.

Download a step-by-step teacher's guide (PDF)

After your information has been verified, you will receive an email with a unique web link to manage your class, along with further instructions. It is important to save the link for future management of your classes. The link never expires, so you do not need to register for FBI-SOS every year.

Once registered, you can create classes and a test key for each student. The FBI does not store any information on students, so it is your responsibility to create the test keys and keep track of which one you assigned to each student.

Ask your students to navigate through the various games and activities in their grade-appropriate island. When students complete the last activity, they can click the “Take the Test” button to take the exam. At this point, students should be certain they are ready to complete the exam, as it may only be taken once. To take the test, students will enter the key that you assigned to them. The exam must be completed in 30 minutes or less. Finishing the exam more quickly produces a higher score.

Right after the test is taken, a temporary webpage shows each student his or her score and any questions answered incorrectly. Teachers can ask students to print and save this webpage; teachers can also view or request the exam results in the class management system.

Once all students in a class have finished the test, click the “Grade Exam” button to tabulate the results. The overall scores for each school are compared with the results of other schools nationwide with similar classroom sizes as part of a national monthly competition. Categories are based on the number of students from each school who took the test: Starfish is 1-50 participants; Stingray is 51-100 participants; and Shark is 100+ participants. The 10 highest scores in each of these categories during the month can be viewed on the leaderboard.

Other than what is displayed on the leaderboard, the FBI does not keep or distribute the rankings of schools nationwide. The leaderboard resets at the end of each month.

The top-scoring school in each participation category nationwide every month is awarded an FBI-SOS certificate. Teachers from winning schools are also sent certificates that they can print and distribute to each student. There are no participation certificates for non-winning schools or students. When possible, the winning school in each category will receive a visit from a local FBI special agent.

The SOS website can be visited at any time in the classroom or at home, and students can work at their own pace in completing the island activities. The activities do not need to be completed in one sitting. However, because of federal regulations governing tracking technologies and other issues, the FBI is not able to save a student’s progress on the site beyond a single session.

While the FBI-SOS website is accessible all year, the testing and competition only operate from September 1 through May 31. There is no testing during the summer months.

The goal of FBI-SOS is to promote cyber citizenship and help students learn about online safety while engaging in fun, interactive games. The program was designed to address current Internet safety threats while keeping each grade level's online usage and knowledge in mind. We hope that you find the program beneficial and that your students use the information to make themselves safer digital citizens.