Teaching internet safety to children is undoubtedly important. But parents often find themselves at a loss for what and how to teach. U.S. News and World Report offers these six tips from the University of Michigan Health System.
1) Explain that not all websites are appropriate. Make sure children know which sites are acceptable for them to visit.
For older children, parents should teach children how to recognize an inappropriate website. Discuss what makes a website appropriate or inappropriate, and talk about your family’s values for media content.
2) Help your child develop a screen name that does not disclose any personal information
In order to behave responsibly online, children need to know when anonymity is preferable to using their “real life” identity. While disclosing personal information online is risky and inadvisable in many online contexts, anonymity may encourage a false sense of privacy or even cyberbullying. Anyone who uses the internet needs to know that online activity can always be traced back to the user.
3) Teach your child to keep his or her password a secret from friends. Insist that the child never share any personal information online.
As your children grow older, teach them about some of the consequences of password sharing and disclosing personal information in the wrong online contexts. Your children should know how to create a strong password and to change passwords periodically.
4) No chat rooms.
Stranger danger still applies online. Set family rules about online contact with strangers, and teach your children what sort of questions are “creepy.” These questions may include age, gender, address, height/weight/body measurements, requests for photos, requests to meet in real life, and more.
5) Have your child introduce you to anyone met online. Make sure your child knows to never agree to meet anyone in person.
Your children should know that a request to conceal anything from a parent is a red flag. Whatever your rules are about online friendships, no online encounters or messages should be a secret.
6) Teach your child to let you know immediately if anyone online is threatening or behaving inappropriately.
Remind your children that, even if they have broken a family internet rule, they need to tell you IMMEDIATELY if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe online.
To read the original U.S. News and World Report article, click here.
These U.S. News and World Report tips are a great place to start conversations with your family about internet safety. For more information about keeping your family safe online, click here!
Keep your kids safe online!