Keep kids safe when using technology with this helpful security advice
Learn helpful tips for keeping your kids safe in the digital age, including guidelines on sharing personal information, digital footprints and cyberbullying
Parents, teachers, law enforcement officers, and concerned adults know that with today’s hyperconnected culture, kids are at risk. Today’s children are digital natives, having been reared from infancy with technologies, never having lived in a world without the internet, readily available WiFi networks, and ever-available connected devices such as smartphones, laptops, gaming systems, and television sets.
The increase in available technologies and devices means that the potential risks to kids via cyber are more prevalent than ever before. Knowing how to raise kids today who are cyber-aware means having the right information and techniques.
Marius Nel, owner at Atlanta IT services company, 360 Smart Networks offers some helpful tips on cybersafety.
How Do I Teach Kids About Cybersafety?
Cybersafety is about awareness and caution. Kids today need to know about appropriate interactions, information sharing, and password safety. While the kinds of technology education kids need changes at different ages, the following are some effective foundational suggestions for cybersafety:
- Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet
- Don’t share passwords, names or addresses with anyone
- Don’t agree to meet people that you’ve met online
- Don’t post pictures of yourself or send pictures to another person without a parent’s permission
- Ask a parent before downloading to or installing on your computer any programs or files
- If you are talking to someone online and they make you uncomfortable, you can discontinue the conversation
- Don’t visit or use a chat room without a parent’s permission
- Ask a parent or other responsible adult if you are unsure of or uncomfortable with something you read or saw online
These fundamental tips taught early and regularly … and reinforced as kids get older … are helpful tools for keeping kids cybersafe.
How Do I Keep Kids Safe When Searching the Web?
The web is fraught with inappropriate and disturbing material. Kids need to be aware of what sites are inappropriate … and parents need to use filters, browsing histories and apps to be sure young children are visiting appropriate content.
What Is a Digital Footprint?
Kids today are connected to the Internet at an early age. Many children are signed up for social media accounts at a young age, having a web presence on sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites popular with younger generations.
Children need to understand that what they say in social media posts, comments and likes creates an enduring digital footprint. They need to realize that once they post something, it can be tracked, exposed and used to their favor or detriment. Sharing opinions, comments and images can have consequences decades later. Be sure your kids know about privacy settings, too.
What is Cyberbullying and How Do I Protect My Kids?
One of the most insidious elements of the internet today is the ease in which people can use these forums to bully other people. Cyberbullying can happen via social media sites, text messages, email messages or instant messages. According to an April 2019 survey by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 37 percent of middle and high school students reported being bullied in their lifetimes and 30 percent had been bullied in the past 30 days.
Defining cyberbullying and making sure kids know where to go if they are being cyberbullied is essential. Kids should also be taught about what cyberbullying is and what actions can be considered cyberbullying.
While teaching cybersafety may be unnerving, it’s an important component of responsible parenting today and essential for keeping children of all ages protected.
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