The Internet can be a useful resource for anyone, especially children who are looking to further their education and gather information. It has also become a way for children to interact with others, whether they message their school friends outside school hours or they reach out to other children across the country or around the world. However, the Internet is also a dangerous place, Therefore, it is up to parents to monitor a child’s online activity for the prevention of cyber bullying and other issues. Follow these tips on Internet safety for kids to keep your child safe and secure.
Internet Safety for Kids 101: Protect Personal Information
If your child is old enough to be online, he is old enough to learn how to protect his personal information. Child predators and bullies work hard to gather personal information about the children with whom they interact online. It is important for parents to frequently talk to their children about not revealing personal information on the Internet to anyone, especially those people they don’t know in the physical world. Children should never give out their last name, address, school name, telephone number, city or ever state. It is important to explain this to your child often to ensure he remembers. This is internet safety for kids 101.
Think before You Post
When thinking of internet safety for kids, one must remember that Many children use the Internet to communicate with other children. Because a child isn’t face to face with the other child, it becomes easy to say something hurtful without thinking about the consequences. When it comes to the prevention of cyber bullying, parents need to speak with their children about thinking before they post. Children should make a habit of asking themselves it they are about to post something they would actually say to the person if they were standing in front of them. If not, don’t post it. This habit can prevent hurt feelings and teach children to think how what they say can impact others.
Don’t Trust Anyone
Also, when approaching internet safety for kids, It may seem wrong to tell your child not to trust anyone. After all, you want your child to believe there is good in the world. Unfortunately, with the Internet, it is easy for people to claim they are someone they are not. Think of all the cases where a child has met someone in real life thinking it is another child, only to find the person is really an adult who wants to harm the child in some way. Therefore, it is best to teach your child to take what anyone says with a grain of salt and not develop a sense of security that causes him to drop his guard. It is okay to talk to people, but caution should always be used.
Internet Safety for Kids: Alert Adults of Bullying Behavior
Too often, bullying behavior goes unreported, especially cyber bullying. This is why it is so important to talk to your child about internet safety for kids and the dangers of these posts and the effects that can occur because of it. The Hartford County Examiner reported as few as one in 10 teens report this type of behavior, making it difficult for adults to stop it. Whether your child is on the receiving end of mean messages or he sees them posted about or to another child, it is important to show the messages to an adult. Many children develop a fear of tattling. You need to help them overcome this fear. They need to understand no one will be able to stop these behaviors if they aren’t aware of what is going on.
Social Media Monitoring
Another issue many parents ignore is their children’s social media accounts. For starters, it is important to make sure children are the proper age to open an account. In many cases, that age is 13 for good reason. Younger children are not mature enough to handle the responsibilities of social media. When your child does have a social media account, parents need to know the password and monitor the activity. This will help parents identify problems and talk to their child about them before they become serious concerns.
Never Set Up Meetings
Children, especially those who don’t seem to have a lot of friends in real life, can become excited about the prospect of meeting a new friend. This often leads children to arrange to meet someone in real life, sometimes without telling an adult or other trusted individual. Unfortunately, this is how many stories end up going badly for the child. It is extremely critical for parents to talk to their children about never meeting anyone they meet online. It is too easy to mislead a child about who a person is, causing an increased risk of harm.
Choose Screen Names and Passwords Carefully
When it comes to choosing screen names and passwords, many children, especially younger children, need some guidance. Because it is so important not to give out personal information, your child should choose screen names that do not include personal information, such as first name, birth date or last name. Help your child think of a screen name that is fun and impersonal that he can remember. Teach him how to choose passwords that are difficult to guess, including making use of capital and lowercase letters, as well as numbers. Make sure you know all your child’s screen names and passwords so you can monitor Internet use.
Keep Computers in a High Traffic Area
With many children owning their own pieces of technology, it is becoming more common for children to use these devices in their own rooms, away from their parents. This is not advised. Limit the use of a computer and other online devices to the living room or kitchen where you can keep an eye on the activity. While you certainly don’t need to constantly watch your child, you should be present to discourage poor behavior and encourage safety.
Periodically Check Activity
Some parents think checking on their child’s Internet activity is a violation of their privacy. While this may be true for adults, parents need to protect their children. One of the most important tools in the prevention of bullying behavior and other negative consequences of the Internet is to know what your child is doing. This doesn’t mean installing a key logger to monitor every single action. Instead, you should periodically check the history and monitor any sites that allow your child to post information.
Don’t Respond to Uncomfortable Messages
Children seem to love to fight back in many cases. When it comes to online activity, though, responding to rude or harassing messages will only feed the fire. Teaching your child not to respond to any messages that make them feel uncomfortable takes the power away from the sender of the message. If your child wants to acknowledge the messages, teach him to come to you to talk about it so he can vent his frustrations without feeding into the purposes of the bully.
Avoid Contributing to Bad Behavior
Another common trait among children is a need to fit in with the crowd. This often leads otherwise good kids to pass on harassing messages or joining in when people are attacking another person. Many children see this as a way to make friends and not to fall victim to the same treatment. According to the Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey, 34 percent of those who participate in cyber bullying have been bullied online themselves. These teens participate because they think it is fun or even to get back at someone who bullied them. For this reason, they must understand this does still hurt another person and doesn’t stop the behavior. Instead, they should learn to report this behavior to an adult to put a stop to it.
Ask Parental Permission
The Internet is not a free-for-all for children. Just like other areas of life, children need to remember they need parental permission for many activities. This includes asking to post personal pictures, clicking on unknown links, downloading material and visiting any new websites. When your children learn to ask your permission before partaking in these activities, you will be able to better monitor their activities and prevent problems for your child, as well as others.
The Internet is a great tool when used properly. Unfortunately, many children are left to their own devices when it comes the Internet, leading to problems with cyber bullying and other issues. It is extremely important for parents to understand the most important Internet safety tips for the prevention of poor behavior among the children, as well as the risk of harm due to predators that use the Internet to their advantage. If you teach your child well and keep track of what he is doing online, you can ensure is safety and promote proper Internet usage habits he will take with him into adulthood, protecting his own children in the future.