There is no denying that technology has become a part of daily life. Chalkboards are being replaced by SmartBoards; you can Google something without lifting a finger; watches can now send texts! As your child has grown up with technology in their life, it is important to educate them about how to stay safe online. Here are the who, what, where, when, and why’s that every child should know about using the internet so you can help keep kids safe online.
Never broadcast your information – This is so important to keep kids safe online. This goes for online especially, but also in person. Make sure your children are not posting their personal information on social media. That includes name, phone number, address, school, email address, and even picture. Disable location-sharing in apps.
Each contact must be a real friend or family member – Your children will be eager to “friend” anybody and everybody, whether or not they are good friends with that person in real life. Let you child know that they should only talk to people that they know well online, and to avoid chatrooms and discussion boards with people they do not know.
Do not respond to someone you do not know – Anyone can hide behind a screen and pretend to be someone else. Only trade contact information when face to face. If you receive an unsolicited message, it is spam and should be deleted.11 Tips To Help Keep Kids Safe Online Click To Tweet
Everything you send can become public – Never write a message, post anything, or take a picture that you would not want forwarded to everyone in your class, your principal, and your parents. If you wouldn’t want Grandma to see it, you probably shouldn’t be sending it! Images and posts can follow you into your professional life when applying for school and jobs.
Talk to your child about texting and sharing inappropriate pictures – Even photographs that are “temporary” (through apps like Snapchat) can be copied and forwarded. If you receive an inappropriate image, immediately delete it, block the person who sent it to you, and inform a parent.
Do not use technology during school hours – Your phone, tablet, computer, etc. should be off or on silent as well as in your backpack during school hours. Time spent at school should be for learning, plain and simple.
Put it away while at the dinner table – This is probably the source of parents’ gripes that younger generations do not know how to hold conversations. Uninterrupted family time not only builds your relationships, but it also teaches your children the arts of eye contact and conversation. And it teaches your child that it is rude to be preoccupied with technology – whether that be midst texting conversation with a friend or simply scrolling through Facebook – while you are holding a conversation with someone else.
Never use technology while driving – If your child is old enough to be behind the wheel, the most important thing they need to know is to never use technology while driving. 11 teens die every day as a result of texting while driving! Put your phone somewhere out of sight, and do not check it until your car is safely parked.
Have a life – People who are constantly connected to their mobile device or plugged into their computer actually become anxious when they are away from it for too long. Do not compromise your daily routine to waste time and scroll through your newsfeed, and do not feel obliged to respond immediately to every text or email you receive. It can wait!
Homework time comes first – Make it clear that school work is most important. When your child comes home from school, only allow them to use technology for educational purposes. Put their phone, tablet, etc. somewhere away and out of sight while they do their homework.
Safety first – The internet can be a great educational tool, and it allows people to communicate within the blink of an eye! But there are also many dangers when going online that your children should be fully informed of before being entrusted to do this on their own.
It’s natural to be nervous about giving your child so much responsibility! Once you go over how to keep kids safe online, trust that your child is now a young adult and will use the internet like one. But it doesn’t hurt to remind them of your guidelines every once in awhile!