The internet is an amazing place for children, allowing them to be creative, play games, chat with their friends, and do a host of other fun activities.
On the other hand, crime and criminals also run rampant on the internet, and some of them prey on children.
How can you protect your children from these dangers? What can you do to enable your children to enjoy the internet while being safe, sensible, and respectable to others?
Teach your children these guidelines for when they’re on the internet:
1. Be fair with your friends. Think of the online world as an extension of your offline world. Include your friends in any online games or chats. Being left out of these activities can be hurtful. Also, be careful of what you say, as written words are easily misinterpreted.
- Important conversations, such as conflict resolution, should be kept for when you see your friends face to face.
2. Be respectful to others. Respect your friends on social media. Check with your friends before you post photos of them. Be mindful of what they might feel when they see your posts.
3. Remember your digital footprint. Whatever you post online – whether it’s text, a photo, or a funny video – will be online forever. Only post things that you would be happy for everyone to see, even your grandma.
4. Think about what you post online. Posting your opinions on social media can seem like a good idea. However, be careful about posting negative content. Getting angry and ranting about a particular topic may make you feel happy at the time, but it may have negative consequences.
- Always remember that other people have feelings that can be hurt by your words.
5. Be careful about who you are talking to. Talking to your friends and family online is a great way to keep in touch. Remember though, that there is always a possibility that you’re talking to a stranger. People may not be who they say they are.
- Always keep the chat on general topics and avoid anything personal.
- If you feel as though someone is overstepping and asking personal questions, leave the discussion and speak to a responsible adult.
- Never, ever arrange to meet someone you only know online.
6. Protect your identity. When you use the internet, avoid giving out your personal information. Avoid saying where you live, what school you go to, or who your parents are. Change your privacy settings on social media so that only your friends and family can view your posts.
7. Remember: it’s not real life. Avoid comparing yourself or your life to the representations that you see online, in social media and elsewhere. This can leave you feeling down about your own life. But you may be comparing yourself to a fairy tale.
- The photos and videos you see online are rarely a true representation of someone’s real life. They choose which images they want to post. These images make it look as though their lives are perfect, but they do not tell the whole story.
The internet can be a dangerous place, filled with people looking to exploit others. If your children follow these tips, they can have fun while staying safe too.