Teach your children well...with these safety tips for a digital world.
Today is Safer Internet Day, and the spirit of this global holiday is to educate the young people on this planet on the ins and outs of safe, sane internet habits. Our children are growing up in a world where the internet is a basic creature comfort, on equal footing with television, books, and movies. They do not view the online world as new technology like some of us do — to children, it’s always existed. Therefore, they don’t approach their interaction online with the caution that we might. They only see a screen that reacts to their button taps, innocently unaware of the invisible risks at play.
That’s not to say we should scare them. We don’t want to cause a trigger of anxiety every time they log on. Kids today will be using the internet throughout their entire lives. And as parents, we want them to cruise the cyber highways confidently educated on the ways of the digital world and empowered to protect themselves.
Talk to the young ones in your life about the following 7 safety tips:
Avoid posting any personal information online. This includes your full name, home address, email address, and phone number.
Learn where the privacy settings are on each website you use, and adjust them all to their highest settings. Get in the practice of always doing this.
Remember that everything you post online lives there forever, so think twice before uploading pictures and videos of yourself (or family or friends), or posting comments you may regret later.
Keep your passwords secret from everyone except your parents. If anyone asks you for your passwords online, definitely do not give it to them and tell your parents right away.
Remember that not everyone is who they say they are online. It’s too easy to pretend you’re someone else. For that reason, shy away from befriending any strangers online, and never make plans to meet with someone you don’t know.
Respect other people’s views. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, including you. Always feel free to state what you believe, but do so without being rude. Flame wars can quickly get out of hand.
If you see or hear anything online that makes you uncomfortable, stop interacting with the app or website, and speak to a trusted adult about it right away.
We suggest these topics as ongoing conversations with your children. Check in on their digital life as you check in on their school days and other aspects of their lives. Show them this is an area of serious concern, but one that can be easily managed with proper online habits, smart choices, and good communication.