Technology is increasingly becoming a dominating aspect of our everyday lives. The internet provides excellent services, access to information, easy communication, education, and more. However, there are still dangers associated with being online, especially if you are a child. This blog will discuss some basic online safety guidelines for children and parents.
Below are some basic guidelines a child should follow when online:
- Follow the family rules regarding internet use.
- Share usernames and passwords with your parents.
- Do not share your passwords with anyone else, even a best friend.
- Do not use your real full name for usernames.
- Never reveal personal information online, especially your name, address, phone number, location, or school.
- Do not post or trade personal photographs of yourself.
- Do not converse with strangers or people you do not directly know.
- Never respond to a threatening email, message, post, or text.
- Always tell a parent or trusted adult when you feel unsafe, or if any communication took place that was scary or hurtful.
- Never agree to meet in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.
As a parent, it is important to ensure that your child’s internet use is safe. Some parental supervision tips include:
- Teach your child about the dangers that are present online, especially about predators.
- Spend time with your child together online to teach them about what proper online behaviour looks like, and what to do and not to do online.
- Set time limits on devices.
- Discuss with your child about what types of websites they are using, and assess whether they are safe or not.
- Maintain open communication with your child so that they feel comfortable talking to you if they ever feel uncomfortable. Trust them and take them seriously when they come to you if they report an online exchange that made them feel uneasy or unsafe.
Warning signs of a child being targeting online by an online predator could include:
- Your child spending long hours online, especially at night.
- Receiving phone calls, messages, or emails from people you don’t know.
- Unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail to your home.
- Your child suddenly turning off the computer or closing web browsers when you walk into the room.
- Withdrawal from family life.
- Reluctance to discuss online activities.
The internet can be a great resource for children in a number of ways, but remember, dangers are always prevalent. Make sure to discuss with your child both the safe and unsafe ways that technology can be used, and teach them how to stay safe online. Continue to talk with your kids and keep an open line of communication so that both you and your child can discuss any problems that may arise while online.