Simply put, in order to answer the question, “what is cyber safety,” all we need to do is look at the safety in regards to the responsible use of communication and information that is used on the Internet. When this information is kept secure and safe, in addition to people being responsible with how it is shared, then cyber safety is being employed. However, Internet etiquette must also be enforced and understood first.
What Is Cyber Safety and Internet Etiquette?
- Responsible sharing of information on the Internet at all times no matter what.
- People should be respectful of one another while online under all circumstances.
- Everyone should be using good “netiquette” while on the Internet: no foul language, no cyber bullying, no stalking, and no spamming.
When schools and other administrations are working with young children, it is imperative that they have a strong understanding of cyber safety if these children are using the Internet. The main reason for this is that young children are impressionable and are unable to be good decision makers, especially when it comes to what becomes published on the Internet.
Create a Mantra for Students to Follow Online
- My personal information such as my name, my phone number, my school, my home address, or my photographs will not be shared on the Internet.
- If I see foul language or bad pictures online, I will tell my teacher or my parents. I will also tell my teachers or my parents if people write things to me that are bad or that I do not like.
- If people write things to me on message boards or bulletin boards that are mean, obscene, distressing, or aggressive I will not respond to them. I will show my teachers or my parents.
- I will not participate in fights or arguments online or use foul language. I will tell my parents or my teachers if a fight or argument is started.
- If offers of gifts or money are offered to me, I will not accept them.
- I will not place any orders on the Internet, nor will I share credit card information.
- If my parents and I have agreed that certain chat rooms or websites are off-limits, I will not enter them.
- I agree not to arrange any face-to-face meetings with any people that I have met on the Internet.
What Can Parents Do?
In order to take a proactive role when solving the question, “”what is cyber safety,” at home, you can take some clear steps. First, make sure your children are using computers that are hooked up to the Internet in a centralized location in the home. If you can hook their computers up so they are not in their bedrooms, this is optimal. However, some children have their homework desks set up in their bedrooms. If this is the case, make sure their bedroom doors are open when they are using the Internet. If you have a WiFi connection, turn it off when they are not allowed to use the computer so you are certain they are not accessing the computer when they should not be.
The next step is establishing ground rules. This should occur before computers or any other devices that connect to the Internet come into your home. Because so many schools are sending home laptops and other handheld devices so students are able to stay up to date with the latest technologies, this is making it more and more difficult for parents to keep their children cyber safe. It is not impossible, though, if you are strategic and enforce the rules you set. Make sure their laptops and devices are not in their rooms after a certain hour, set up parental controls on all of their devices, look through their history, and make sure they understand that you have the right to look over their shoulder so long as they are minors living under your roof.
The Bottom Line
Your teens are likely going to rebel and feel that they are being held under too many rules. This is not uncommon and should be treated with patience. The best way to handle these situations is to remind them that the devices they are using is a privilege and that you are trying to keep them safe. If they believe that they should not be kept safe, then you have to right to take that privilege away from them unless they need to use the device for the sole purpose of doing their homework.
What is cyber safety to you and how do you define what is cyber safety if asked? Tell us your view of what is cyber safety below…