Online safety is a top priority for parents, caregivers and teachers who are providing internet access to children. The internet is a world of knowledge, but it definitely has it’s dark side. It’s important to create a safety net for the web. With free and easy access to the Internet around the world, many have abused it as an opportunity to take advantage of others.
But, there's no reason to fear the Internet. With the right precautions and information; the Internet can help educate, positively influence, and provide a creative outlet for kids.
Here are some online safety tips to encourage when surfing the web whether at home or at school.
Here are five internet safety tips:
1. Sit with your children when they are online and ask what they are doing and where they like to hang out. This includes the phone and tablet, not just the home or school computer.
2. Review their list of online followers and make sure they know who is following them. Their accounts should be private—not public—which means shared only friends and relatives. That’s it. Be sure to discuss the importance of only befriending those they know or set a rule that they cannot accept friends without your approval. Many social media channels have parental controls to block and filter requests.
3. Keep passwords secret from friends but never from parents. An alternative way to do this is to set the password and login for your child so that they can only sign in on their device and under your supervision.
4. Ban Snapchat. Any tool that deletes pictures and messages after 10 seconds is designed to keep secrets. If you want to allow Snapchat keep it on your device and only allow the use under supervision.
5. Warn your children not to send personal information or pictures to strangers. Many parental controls will let you block the message feature completely.
As far as being a good digital citizen, reinforce that children should never write anything online they wouldn’t say in person or send photos that they wouldn’t want the world to see. Social media can be a great place for kids to learn and connect with the right amount of supervision and ground rules.