The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can also be dangerous. Teaching your child how to be safe on the Internet is as important as teaching them to be safe in the physical world. Internet safety can encompass a wide, and quickly changing, range of topics that parents need to be aware of.
Below is a list of different topics for you to further explore.
The Basics of Internet Safety
Regardless of how or how often your child uses the Internet, here are some tips to keep in mind when they are online.
- Keep the computer in a high traffic area like the living room or den.
- Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
- Internet technology can be mobile. Make sure to monitor cell phones, tablets, laptops and game consoles.
- Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for anything they are doing online.
- Continually talk with your children about what they are doing online.
- Keep up with and know how to use the technology they are using.
Below are some resources on specific topics. Please follow the link for more information regarding each topic.
Social networking sites include sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bebo. Other programs like Fliker and Instagram could also be categorized as SNS sites. For more on SNS click here.
In the video store they had the top shelf. It was much too high for a child's eyes, but the Internet has no top shelf. Everything is blended together making it easier than ever before for child to (purposely or accidentally) stumble upon content that is not for them. For more on keeping your child safe click here.
Revealing too much
Unfortunately, people of all ages reveal too much. Children are made especially vulnerable by sharing personal information, such as home addresses, phone numbers, private thoughts, feelings and pictures. In order to keep your children from posting information and images they may end up regretting, remind them who may see the information they reveal while online. Click here for more information.
According to the FTC roughly 9 million people each year have their identity stolen. For information on making sure it is not your teen click here.
The Internet did not create child predators, but it made it easier for them to reach children. Predators can communicate with children anonymously through instant messaging, social networking sites, chat rooms, message boards and even cell phones. Click here to learn more.
A webcam is a video camera attached to a computer. Oftentimes, they are already installed into the computer, but they can be external as well. They allow a user to communicate with someone else through voice a video. Webcams can be a great tool for communicating with friends and relatives over long distances, but they can also put teens and adolescents at risk. Learn more here.
Short for "web logs," a blog is an online diary. These allow children and teens to express their thoughts and feelings through video or writing while developing their creativity and technical skills. Blogs are also a way for teens and children to connect to others who share similar interests. When done safely, blogging can be a great tool, but oftentimes children and teens forget that blogs are not private and reveal too much. Click here to learn more about this and how to prevent it.
Email, IM and Chat Rooms
Although not as popular as they once were, email, IMs and chat rooms are still used by children and teens ages 12-17. In order to access most social networking sites, people have to have a valid email address. This is online required for virtual worlds and online games. Many of these sites have IM or chat room functions built into them that let youth communicate with people they know, and people they don't. Learn more here.
Cell Phones and Sexting
When cell phones first became popular, they did not have things like Internet access and cameras built in. Now, almost every phone is able to do both of these things. This opens youth up to cyberbullying, predators and sexting. Learn more about preventing these things here.
Many games are online or have online features. These are often looked at as simply a form of entertainment, but they can be more. Using instant chat features, forums and voice-enabled interactions, children can communicate and collaborate with gamers all over the world. Unfortunately, these features can also expose children to people who may not have their best interests in mind. Learn more here.