Online safety is paramount for children. Kids that are old enough to use the internet are still too young to exercise adequate caution. That’s why it’s so important for parents to teach them how to make online safety a constant part of their internet experience. I could tell you stories already of both my kids stumbling across things I’d rather they didn’t see at all. It’s much too easy to accidentally type the wrong search term and suddenly be confronted with something completely inappropriate for children.
Tweens and teens are no different. If you think that they know more than you about social media and engaging on line, then quite frankly you need to get educated.
Online Safety – What Your Kids Need to Know
Just as we teach our children to be safe when they’re out and about, we need to be equally vigilant about teaching them the ins and outs of online safety. Children are inquisitive, friendly, and trusting. That’s the perfect combination for predators to exploit. They’re also impulsive, which can lead to all sorts of nasty viruses and malware from rapid fire downloading.
Keep Them Secret. Keep Them Safe.
First and foremost to online safety is anonymity. There isn’t anyone out there on the internet that needs to know your child’s name. Teach them that before anything else. Even when they’re playing an online game, their screen name should not be their real name.
Another important factor to staying secret and safe online is not talking to strangers. Stranger danger is just as real online as it is on the street. Teach children to stay away from chat rooms and never to speak to anyone they don’t know who messages them via any method.
Always Be Suspicious
It sounds awful, but another key to online safety is never to trust anyone. It’s important for kids to understand that they need to keep their guards up, even when playing an online game. Creepers are everywhere, and an online children’s game is the perfect place for them to make personal connections that should never be made.
For that reason, your child should understand implicitly that they should never, under any circumstances, share any sort of personal information. Conversations should be kept to the realm of whatever game they’re playing.
Ask Before Downloading
If you have younger children, this is a biggie in online security. Children love to download things. Whether it’s a program, a picture, or a movie they’re trying to find. The thing is, while they may know how to download, they almost certainly don’t know how to download safely.
If you have a child who’s a serial down loader, it’s important to make them understand how dangerous it is. Downloading random things can cause you to have to scan your entire hard drive at best or do a clean install at worst. It’s important that children understand that any time they download something without asking, they run the risk of blowing up the computer’s operating system. Also, many times a parent’s credit card information has been inputted and saved in the system so that some software or safety program can be installed. It’s way too easy for a child to actually end up incurring dozens of unforeseen costs that could have been avoided with more supervision. My advice for that one is to change your own password regularly so that your child doesn’t absent-mindedly download a dozen charges to your credit card.
A Solid Online Safety Base
These three tips for online safety form the base for every other aspect of online safety. These three rules will help you make a plan for your child’s safety whenever they go online. So remember, the keys to online safety are anonymity, an abundance of caution, and chilling out on the downloads.