How do we even begin to talk to our kids about online safety? The internet is massive, and it’s changing all the time. How you learned to maneuver the internet isn’t even comparable to your child’s online experience.
So, how can we cover all the bases? Well, what do you wish you knew when you stumbled onto an odd website? Or what about when chatting with people you didn’t know?
Kids will be kids, but we need them to understand that surfing the internet comes with great responsibility. Let them know they shouldn’t post something they wouldn’t want family, friends, peers, or future coworkers or colleagues seeing.
Let them know they shouldn’t share photos or videos, even if they think it’s totally private – it isn’t. Things can be breached. Friends aren’t always who they portray themselves to be. Hackers can grab that stuff and exploit it. It isn’t a good idea to share it.
We must show our children it’s okay to use the computer, but there’s proper etiquette to follow. They should always show respect to others. Familiarize them with cyberbullying and provide real strategies for dealing with it.
Explain all the safety measures, and then ask them how they should respond if they run into inappropriate behavior. Explain to them how they can spot it and when they should let someone know. If they’re being ridiculed online, do they know how to respond? Help them with these situations so they’ll feel ready when the inevitable occurs.
It helps no one when these things are kept secret from families. Go over all possible scenarios you can think of. Encourage communication and be sure you’re an available parent to turn to.
Establish rules for online friends. Be sure to let your child know not to meet or communicate with an online friend without sharing with family first. Sometimes these friends aren’t who they seem, and if the child doesn’t share this info with their parents, the family may lose time if a meeting goes wrong. The best practice is to not share their full name, address, or phone number with anyone.
Spending time online can be a positive experience, but we must let our children know how important it is to be polite but not excessive in sharing information. They should always tell us about their new friends.
We as parents need to encourage regular communication about what’s new: internet edition. You’ll be sure to hear about some interesting topics!
Taylor Lee is a freelance writer and family transformation coach. Visit her blog at: www.accomplishedfamily.com.