Parent’s Guide to Child Safety Online
Unfortunately, the internet can be a scary place these days, especially for parents who may not be very tech savvy or who don’t know what their children are doing online. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way – when you talk to your children teach them to use proper caution online, they can go online without you having to worry about what might happen. Banning children from the internet, or from certain social networking sites is not a solution – it doesn’t really help, and when they do start using those sites, they aren’t well trained. The best solution is to allow children to go online, but with proper guidance and training.
Let’s go over some basic principles to help you understand the potential dangers that the internet poses, and how to avoid them. First of all, absolutely the most important thing that you can do is to talk with your children and to know what they are doing online.
You cannot possibly teach them about every bad thing that they will find, but teaching them what is right and wrong, and when to leave certain sites, will ensure that they do not get into trouble. Many parents choose to install filtering software to help block bad sites. This is a great way to help make the internet safer for your child, but even the best filtering software occasionally lets bad things through, so teaching your children is imperative. Secondly, teach them discretion with their personal information. The fact is that there are sites all over the internet which want personal information and encourage kids to share it. Talk to your children and teach them what information is and isn’t acceptable to give out, and where it is OK to give that information out.
This includes what kinds of things are acceptable to share on social networks, and what kinds of things should never be posted online. Teaching your children to use the privacy settings on these sites is a good idea, too. Talking to your children about the internet creates an open line of communication between them and you, and so if they ever do find something disturbing, or have questions, they will know that they can talk to you about it and get help. If you don’t go online frequently, or don’t know a lot about the internet, then there are many great resources to help you understand the internet, and to explain what kinds of things you should and shouldn’t do. Let’s go over a few basic tips, and then we’ll list some additional resources for extended reading.
Don’t Talk to (or Trust) Strangers
This basic advice that we give children applies on the internet too. There are many times in anonymous blog comments or other similar situations where it is OK to talk to someone you’ve not met in real life, but don’t give out personal information to these people. Also, don’t trust files from unknown sources as they may contain viruses.
Know Where Your Personal Information Is
- You can’t just
- give out any information at all, but you should be cautious about where you give it out. For instance, it is fine to give out your personal information to your bank. However many scammers try to impersonate banks to get that information from you. Make sure that you know who is getting your information when you give it out. Also, don’t put too much information out on social networks.
- If you would like to find out more about internet safety, check out these links for more great articles:
- The Ashfield Council’s Page on Internet Safety
- The Raising Children Network’s Guide to Internet Safety