From video-based lessons to browsing their favorite websites, children in 2020 have different levels of experience with technology. Regardless of their expertise, prepare to discuss online safety with them. Consider the following tips from USAGov when teaching kids about staying safe online.
Talk to Kids About Their Online Activity: Don’t wait for your kids to come to you. Use everyday events like news stories or tv shows to start conversations about online safety. Get to know the websites your kids are using and who they are in touch with online. Encourage them to talk to you if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
Encourage Online Manners: We teach kids to use manners in person, so why not also encourage them to be respectful when communicating online? Discuss family values and how to practice them online. Simple things like saying “please” and “thank you” can be a great reminder even when sending an email or joining a chat group.
Discuss the Consequences of Online Actions: Whether in-person or online, words and actions have consequences. Remind children that once they post, they can’t take it back. You can’t truly delete things from the internet.
Adjust Privacy Settings: Setting high privacy preferences allows you to decide who can communicate with your child and what they can see on the internet. Reinforce expectations of who they connect with and use parental controls to block access to certain websites.
Limit Sharing Online: Help kids understand that they should not share every piece of information. Important details such as phone numbers, bank accounts, and Social Security numbers are private. This can help prevent unwanted contact, especially from scammers looking to take advantage of the situation.
Remember, kids often need repetition. Be patient and continue discussing online safety. For helpful resources on internet safety, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s Protecting Kids Online page.
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