The internet is an amazing place where kids can learn, play, innovate and connect with others. All in all, the internet opens up a whole new world of exciting possibilities. However, with the digital world evolving at an increasing pace, how can you make sure your child is safe from the dangers of the internet?
Have you ever thought about what your kids do on the internet? Which online activities they engage in? Do you know they could be lured into unsafe online environments? Are you worried that they may knowingly or unknowingly indulge in practices that are not safe?
Your kids may know how to search for something on Google or watch creative things that build their interest. But they might not know anything about viruses, digital privacy, email scams, and other internet safety and security issues. To make your kids aware of these issues, consider the following five simple tips for kids on internet safety:
1. Don’t share personal information
Kids should tell their parents right away if they come across something that makes them feel uncomfortable. However, most kids don’t. That’s why it’s important to keep communicating and stay involved with your children. Parents need to ask their kids about who their friends are and how they’re spending their time on the web.
Try to teach them what information to share with others. Your child should keep all personal information away from the internet. Information such as home address, school name or phone number, parents’ work address, neighborhood, and so on should not be handed out by them to anybody for any reason. Some companies trick children by offering them free things in exchange for information, so help them recognize the signs of a scam.
2. Don’t give account details to anyone (except parents)
Your child needs to understand that their account details like username and password are extremely private and should not be given to others for any reason. Kids are never too old to be reminded that passwords should never be shared with anyone, even with the closest of friends.
Make sure your child knows how to guard their passwords. The strongest passwords are combinations of mixed case letters, symbols and numbers, and should not contain names or other identifiable information that can be easy to guess. Promote safety while respecting the privacy of your child by inviting them to seal their account details in an envelope, and promise to unfold it only in case of an emergency.
Most parents are aware of the possibility of bullying and the devastating impacts this can have on children of any age. Let them know about cyberbullying, internet safety and how they can protect themselves. Furthermore, encourage them to always tell you if they feel they are being bullied in any way.
3. Ask before downloading anything
Let them know that they should check with you first before downloading or installing software, or doing anything that could hurt laptops, computers, tablets, or other devices. Online attachments sometimes contain trojans, malware and viruses. Tell them they should never open an attachment from someone they don’t know. Walk through the privacy settings of their social accounts with them, and help activate them. You can also use antivirus and anti-malware tools like:
4. Be extremely careful about meeting online friends
The FBI gives a blanket warning which states: “Never meet anyone in person that you meet online.” That being said, many teens do still make good, legitimate friends online.
However, every online relationship requires extra caution. Let them know that they should never under any circumstances meet someone they’ve connected with online alone. They should bring you along if they do decide to meet an online friend, but make sure to meet in a public area like a mall where there are tons of people around. Ask that the person’s parents come as well. If the situation feels creepy, walk away!
5. Be good on social media
More than half of kids use social media by the age of 10. They can make controversial posts, illegally download music or movies that may be restricted in your country, and what not without thinking about the consequences. Therefore, ask your kids to be watchful of what they write or share on social media because someone will be watching them. And never forget, anything posted on the internet is forever!
By following these tips and using a little security aware common sense, you can keep your kids safe and secure on the internet.
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