It is clear that within the last decade our lives have gone almost completely digital. The world wide web is no longer just a place to collect information and efficiently complete tasks, it has become a marketplace and social network. We have all heard the dangers of the internet, the reality is it is not going away anytime soon and is continuing to evolve everyday. Our children are more involved then ever and this why it is important to become educated on internet safety.
As we strive to raise compassionate and responsible children offline we need to put these same practices into play online. Here are some tips from us here at TechyKids to help you educate your children on on how to avoid online threats such as theft and abuse.
Information is There Forever We sometimes neglect to realize that what is posted online has the potential to be there forever! This is a reality. What your children post online is a reflection of themselves and is creating an online profile that will be with them a lifetime. Just because they delete something doesn’t mean it is gone.
Being a good online citizen is just as important as doing so offline. Remember the golden rule, do not lie, cheat or steal; and as Ellen says “be kind to one another!” It is important youth be careful and not impulsive when posting online. Teach them to post things they would be proud of. Do the Grandma test with them... Ask, “would your Grandma be proud of this?” Yes, most grandmas can now manage google.
Do Not Put Personal Information Online Profiles are everywhere and it is important to educate your children to not include their real name in these screen names and to never disclose other personal information in conversation. Instruct them on the fact that providing your last name, address, school and even birthday can put them at risk.
Create passwords with your children that are unique and ensure that they do not share them with anyone besides yourself. Also, have them change these passwords frequently, we recommend every 3 months. When making purchases online be sure you approve the sale and secure it is a legitimate site. Teach your kids to avoid clicking sidebars fore these ads are generally spam.
Another reality is that children are at high risk of identity theft. They generally have clean records and such activity can go undetected for a long time. Remember, at the end of they day you are responsible for your child as a minor, this is why such precautions are necessary.
Safety Settings Go over the safety settings with your children on their accounts, may it be; online gaming, interest groups, social media, exc. This will help educate the both of you on what is being presented and also will provide you, the parent, with security knowing your child's limits. You also want to ensure their profiles are as private as possible to avoid threats. Have your children then ask their friends what they can see when searching for them. We do have to address pornography for it is popping up everywhere. It is big business and many are targeting youth. These pages are loaded with viruses and can be damaging to your
child's emotional and psychological health. Have the conversation and educate them that there are safer ways to learn about sex and relationships. Online threats are real! Ensure you have the proper safety settings in place and invest in content barrier software to act as an online body guard for your family, it will cost you about $50 a year, it is worth it!
Stranger Danger! Most of us have taught our children “do not talk to strangers”. The same does not seem to apply online. Many kids today are making friends on forums where they can share similar interests and ideas. Although, as mentioned before, they should not engage on such platforms until you have ensured they are secure.
When it comes to a face-to-face interaction this is a different story. You want to establish enough about this ‘friend’ before agreeing to a meeting. If your child has; made a new online friend, developed a trusting relationship, and wishes to meet this companion, be sure to attend and meet in a public place. Teach your youngsters that if something feels off, it is off!
It is also important to educate your children of the potential dangers of responding to unfamiliar text and e-mails. As we know there is plenty of spam floating around out there. Advise your kids to never open an unfamiliar attachment for this can put them and your whole family at risk. Responding to unfamiliar text and direct messages can also be harmful for it can result in bullying or alternative forms of abuse.
Teaching youth how to use the internet is a lot like riding a bike. You teach them the basics, stay by their side at first, as they gain more confidence you back of
f and trust that you have given them the tools to be smart users. You are there to guide your children to be responsible in the real world and it is no different online. Set limits and provide consequence for breaking these rules. The Internet is a great place for a number of reasons, we want to advise our kids on the proper practises so they can be productive online citizens. Lastly, let them educate you! Unfortunately, technology is one of the areas our children seem to have outsmarted us in. Allowing them to show you their online world will give them confidence and you peace of mind.
Sources 1. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-myths-and-truths-about-kids-internet- safety 2. https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/internet-safety-tips 3. http://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/bid/159129/10-things-to-teach-your-kids- about-internet-safety 4. https://safety.lovetoknow.com/15_Facts_About_Internet_Safety 5. http://www.sd68.bc.ca/?post_type=document&p=7564 6. https://www.socialcitizens.ca/ 7. https://teens.webmd.com/features/teen-internet-safety-tips#1 8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnc4LaevRBw 9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrln8nyVBLU