As our society begins to rely on the internet more and more the way we use the web and how we give out and protect our information online. Explore our Internet Safety Tips For Families!
Internet safety may sound like it isn’t a very big deal, but the fact is, if you aren’t careful online you could encounter financial problems, identity theft, exploitation, and in some cases, people have become the victims of violent crime.
One of the toughest challenges that parents face is monitoring what their kids are doing online. Are your kids in chat rooms? If so, who are they talking to? Finding internet safety tips for parents can be tricky. Which methods will work for you and your family? Internet safety is not a one size fits all kind of thing; each family has different rules, limits, and expectations. So how do you find the right tips for internet safety that will work in your home?
We’ve compiled some of the best internet safety tips we could find. Read on for the top general internet safety tips and the top internet safety tips for kids and teens, along with some facts on cyberbullying.
Kids and teens aren’t the only ones who need to be careful while surfing the net. Everyone should use care when they are using the internet, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you are providing yourself with enough safety.
1. Prepare your computer before you even go online – make sure that you have a strong anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam security programs and a strong personal firewall to prevent hackers or viruses access to your computer.
2. Be careful what personal information you share on social networking profiles and other places on the web – on most social networking sites you are asked a significant amount of personal information. They will encourage you to post everything from your marital status to education to your religion and political views. Be selective about what information you put out and who you allow to see it.
3. Be choosy about the photos you share – sharing photos with friends and family is a wonderful way to keep in touch. However, people that are looking to do you harm could use identifying marks such as addresses and license plates in photos to locate you or to use the information to steal your identity. Also, when sharing photos of children, be extra cautious, setting them to a friends or contacts only setting ensures that people you don’t know can’t access the photo.
5. Beware of phishing – don’t put your personal information including account numbers, passwords or birth dates on any site you aren’t sure is legitimate. Criminals often send an email asking you for information which directs you to a site created to appear as a legitimate company asking for you to update or correct your information. Don’t ever give your information away in this scenario, sites like eBay and PayPal are commonly used in this type of scam as are banks and retail stores.
6. Know what is happening in your bank and credit card accounts, make sure you recognize all charges, and report anything you don’t recognize immediately.
7. Don’t open every attachment – if you receive an email from someone you don’t know or with a subject that seems odd, don’t open the attachment. Hackers often send messages like this and once you open the attachment they have embedded a virus or malware that you have now launched into your computer. It’s very common for email accounts and social networking accounts to get hacked so if you see something from a friend that looks odd, ask before opening.
8. Investigate “free” programs before downloading them – many free programs are just used to deliver spyware and adware to you so that they can monitor what you are looking at and buying.
9. Keep up to date – sure all those messages are a hassle, but if your virus software is saying to update, then update. It’s there for your protection
10. Stay vigilant, and keep a lookout for fraud, sometimes you will get phony sweepstake announcements that you’ve won, or a letter from a far off country saying you have inherited money, these are common ploys to separate you and your money.
1. Never post your personal information online. This includes your email address, phone number, address, date of birth, or even the school or church you go to.
2. Never meet in person with anyone you met online. You might “meet” someone on a social networking site or a gaming site and think they are a nice person and a friend, but they may not be who they say they are and meeting with them could be dangerous.
3. Never give your passwords to anyone other than your parent or guardian. No one else has any legitimate reason to need this information from you. If someone asks you for your password or any of your personal information online, alert your parents.
4. Only add friends to your circles, social networking sites and other online places if you know that person in real life. Don’t accept invitations from people you’ve never met.
5. Don’t reply to rude texts, messages, instant messages, wall postings. If someone is using these methods to cyberbully you, tell your parents and the school if it is another student.
6. Never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to the person face-to-face, information has a way of getting back to people
7. Don’t post things about your friends that could put them at risk, or that you believe they wouldn’t want you to share about them.
8. Use common sense when posting photos online. Don’t post anything that shows you partially clothed or naked. Follow this very basic rule for posting pictures, if it would embarrass you for parents, teachers, family members or other friends to see that photo, don’t post it. Also, never reveal your school or where you live in pictures.
9. If you write a blog, do not put your personal information or location on it. Remember, anyone can access your blog, not just your friends. So don’t put anything on it that could open you up to potential victimization.
10. Check the privacy setting of any social networking sites that you use. Make sure that you have complete control over who can view your profile, photos, and updates, as well as who can be added as your friend.
Spotting and Stopping Cyberbullying
There are many forms of cyberbullying. Girls are more likely to be the target of cyberbullying than boys. Cyberbullying can happen in many forms:
- Spreading rumors or gossip over the internet
- Sending messages threatening a person’s physical safety
- Doctoring images so the victim is placed in a compromising or embarrassing situation
- Stealing someone’s password or hacking into their accounts to send or post in their place
- Recording someone being physically harmed or harassed and then posting it online for others to watch
- Sending or posting hostile messages and/or comments meant to upset the victim or provoke them
How can I tell if it’s happening to my child?
If a child or teen is being cyberbullied, they may exhibit certain behaviors or become withdrawn. If you find that a child or teen is:
- Avoiding their computer, phone or other device
- Getting stressed, distraught, sad or otherwise upset when looking at emails, posts, texts, or other messages
- Becoming withdrawn from social events, trying to stay home from school excessively, even avoiding family or friends
- Seems depressed or afraid
- Suddenly exhibits characteristics of low self esteem or low self confidence
- If their grades begin to decline or they start ignoring household duties and chores
- If they have little or no interest in doing activities they normally enjoy
- If eating, sleeping, and hygiene habits change dramatically, such as sleeping all the time or not at all or overeating or choosing not to eat at all.
What do I do to help my child and stop thebullying?
- Make sure your child feels comfortable talking to someone about their problems, even if it isn’t you. You can enlist teachers, family members, friends, as long as they know they have someone to go to
- Save any and all evidence you find of the cyberbullying, you may need it for future reference when dealing with the family of the bully or the school
- Encourage your child not to respond or retaliate to any type of cyberbullying they are experiencing or that may be happening to their friends
- Empower them to be an active citizen, remind them that it’s ok to report things like cyberbullying to an adult who can properly attend to the situation and hopefully resolve the problem
- Teach them the difference between funny and cruel. Sometimes a joke can sound very close to an insult and criticism can be misunderstood
- Encourage them to understand what someone who is being bullied goes through. Explain what happens to both the bullied and the bully
- Block the bully if possible, if not delete messages without even reading them
- Set limits for your kids and remind them to keep you in the loop about their day to day life.
- Peer pressure can lead to bullying, make sure your child knows how to effectively react to being pressured, remind them it is ok to say no to friends if they are uncomfortable
- Monitor your child’s electronic communications. It may seem like an invasion of their privacy, but they are still minors who need their parents to make sure they aren’t being compromised
It all comes down to open communication. Your kids won’t know right from wrong and bad from good when it comes to safely being on the internet unless you teach them. Set clear boundaries and time limits if necessary and remind them that even if they are uncomfortable coming to you with problems, there is always another responsible adult they can talk to.
Making sure that your children are safe and cared for is always a parent’s top priority. Many parents may take it for granted that their children are using the web responsibly, but the fact is, your child may be experiencing a severe problem either through cyberbullying or stalking, or by being harassed from someone they met on social networking and you may never know.
Internet safety tips for teens and kids are a new essential conversation for families and even educators. Kids must learn right from wrong on the internet, just as they would in everyday social interactions and in using proper manners.
When children are given the foundation for proper behavior and enough knowledge, they will be much more apt to defend themselves against cyberbullying and potential exploitation.
It’s basically the same as basic rules for everyday life:
- Always protect your identity
- Never talk to strangers or get in a strange car
- Treat others as you would want to be treated
- Be respectful and courteous
If you and your children follow those simple guidelines, you will be off to an excellent start for safely using the internet.