It’s so easy to understand why many parents have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. On one hand, it’s a wonderful source of information and knowledge. On the other, it could provide too much information and knowledge that is deemed inappropriate for kids who are at such an impressionable age. The internet is a good avenue for connecting and reconnecting with family and friends; however, it is also where you could have a brush with unsavory characters.
Here are some Internet safety tips for kids in order to remain safe even while making full use of the vast information available out there on the web.
- Be careful what you share online, particularly when it comes to personal and sensitive information about yourself and any member of your family. Social networks have privacy settings, but even those can be bypassed and hacked into, so the best thing to do is to not divulge too much. There are simply some information that is not meant to be shared to all and sundry. (This includes passwords.)
- When sharing photographs of yourself or of your family, choose where to post or upload it. Also, be mindful of the photos or images you share. If the photographs are of other people, like members of your family, for example, ask for their permission first before posting them online.
- When using a computer or laptop that is also used by other people, make sure to log out properly from any of your accounts (e-mail, social networks, etc) when you’re done using the Internet.
- Making friends is not a bad thing. However, before meeting any of the friends you’ve met online in person, make sure to get your parents’ or guardians’ permission first. Should you decide to eventually go ahead with the meeting, it would be better if you are accompanied by your parent or guardian.
- Respect applies online, too. When joining discussions online or adding comments on certain posts, don’t be insulting. This would minimize, or altogether prevent, hostilities against you.
- Follow the rules. If your parents forbid you to visit certain sites, or if the library at school expressly lists down which websites to avoid, heed their words. If you have homework and you need to use the internet, do not hesitate to ask for help. No one would think less of you if you ask for parental guidance while surfing online.
- If your parent has restricted your access to the Internet via tools such as Net Nanny or firewall software, do not try to hack into such a setup. Accept the fact that everything is done with a good purpose.
- Sound off. If you have any concerns, or there is someone bullying you online, let someone know about it. Keeping quiet will not solve the problem. Net stalking is a major problem on the Internet.
The best safeguard against anything that could pose harm to kids while using the internet is guidance and vigilance on the part of the parents. Good communication between parents and their children is vital in order to keep everyone safe from Internet-related risks and dangers. Needless to say, the parents need to be kids’ best friends in real life and on the Internet as well.