Internet Safety Tips for Kids and Teens
As parents, you likely grew up in a time before the internet was as accessible, affordable, and ever-present as it is today. The internet is increasingly relied upon for more and more of the functions of our daily lives, which has brought with its fantastic new opportunities for connection and communication. However, it can pose a risk to the safety of your kids if they are left to browse unchecked.
Why Internet Safety is so Important Today
Allowing your kids to use the internet is not an inherently bad thing!
With much of the world being forced online because of imposed lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, schools, universities and workplaces are adapting to operating over the internet. Without the internet, there would be even further disruption to many of the systems that help our world to turn.
However, this increase in online time means that it is more important than ever to be teaching your children about online safety.
1. Keep Personal Information Private
It pays to provide your kids with some education on the potential risks of talking to strangers online. Advising them against handing out personal information should be step one. Where possible, get your kids to make a username as opposed to their real name. Warn them against giving out other information such as your address or phone number.
While some social media sites allow for this, others do not. Set boundaries with your child about what sites they’re allowed to use, and stick to them.
2. Monitor your Children’s Internet Usage
Be cautious about letting your child use the internet unmonitored. With smartphones and tablets being easily portable, you may want to consider setting up a room or zone that internet-ready devices are only to be used in. This can help you to informally check in with your child’s internet use.
If you have suspicions that your child is using the internet inappropriately or dangerously, you may feel the need to check their browsing history. Let them know that you will be doing this, rather than doing it behind their back as this can foster mistrust. Be honest and upfront about why you are monitoring their internet use!
3. Open an Internet Safety Conversation
It’s important that you have a conversation with your child about their online behaviour and the potential consequences. As children and teenagers, they are likely naive to the potential dangers of the internet. It is your job as a parent to help guide them through the importance of internet safety.
Warn them about malware, viruses, adult material, and predators, all of which can be found in the darker corners of the internet. Provide them with a real picture of what can happen if they aren’t careful on the internet.
Final Internet Safety Takeaways
The way we use the internet will continue to evolve as the technology improves and becomes more accessible around the globe. As a result, we as parents need to stay vigilant to the ways that our kids are using it. By considering the three points we’ve outlined already, you can bring these ideas forward into the future and evolve them alongside the technology.