It’s nothing short of a nightmare to find out that your child has been spending time with a stranger. However, many parents don’t realize how likely this scenario is. If your child has access to the internet but doesn’t understand the risks that come with it, they could be talking to virtually anyone. While the internet is a good educational resource, predators can use it to find your child, send them inappropriate messages, and even track them down in real life. That’s why Kiwi Searches recommends that parents supervise children under the age of 12 when using the internet. But if your child is ready to browse the web on their own, you need to talk to them about our essential internet safety guidelines for children.
8 Internet Safety Tips You Can Teach Your Child:
Sit down with your child and go over each of these guidelines with them. Make sure that they understand why you’re asking them to follow these rules. If they don’t, explain to them that these tips will help them stay safe while they have fun online.
1. Never Post Personal Information
Our most important internet safety tip is for children to never reveal their name, address, phone number, or any other kind of identifiable information online. With this information, criminals could easily call your house phone or show up at your door. And that not only puts your child at risk, but also you, your family, and their friends.
The same goes for if your child uploads pictures of themselves, which you should discourage them from doing. However, if they do decide to post some, they need to make sure that they’re not posing near landmarks, schools, or anything else that could reveal their location. There’s no real way to delete a picture once it’s been posted, either. Whatever they post can follow them for years down the road.
2. Send Messages Only To Family And Friends
The easiest way for your child to avoid chatting with internet predators is to only message people they know. Whether it’s family members, classmates, or trusted family friends, give them a list of people they’re allowed to talk to online. This also means that they shouldn’t accept friend requests from people they don’t know. For added privacy, your child should also restrict their posts to “friends only.”
3. Browse Parent-Approved Sites
If your child wants to visit a website, be sure to look through it before you let them. Some sites and apps, such as YouTube Kids, have internet safety controls for children but may still have inappropriate content. In addition, most social media sites require users to be 13 or older.
Now would be a good time to educate your child on fake news, which is rampant on sites like Facebook. Show them internet safety resources where they can find legitimate, accurate, and true information. Knowing how to identify fake news will help them learn how to do research for school papers, too.
4. Keep Passwords Secret
Your child shouldn’t share their passwords with anyone aside from you. They might not understand that even if they give their password to their best friend, that gives them the power to log into their account. From there, they could impersonate your child, steal their information, or try to hack into their other accounts using the same password.
5. Don’t Download Or Purchase Anything Without Parental Consent
There are commercials aimed towards children all over television, and unfortunately, they’re on the internet too. They often promote products, free apps, and apps with hidden in-game purchases. Even worse, some are just scams that are trying to steal your money or infect your computer with viruses. Let your child know that if they want to download or buy something, they need your approval first.
6. Be Respectful And Report Cyberbullying
If your child or one of their friends experiences cyberbullying, they need to immediately tell you, their teacher, or trusted family member.Often, cyberbullying can move from social media to text messaging. If that happens, our reverse number search will reveal who’s harassing your child. And be sure to assure your child that if they’re ever bullied, whether it’s online or at school, they can always come and tell you about it.
On that same note, stress to your child that they shouldn’t hide behind the internet’s anonymity and bully their peers. Just like photos, hurtful and/or inappropriate comments are never truly deleted. They create a paper trail that can be found by parents, teachers, school officials, and even potential future employers. So remind them to be smart about what they post.
7. Bring A Parent To Meet An Online Friend
Your child may have already befriended a stranger online if they didn’t know about any of these internet safety tips for children. For adults and children alike, meeting an online friend is potentially dangerous. But sometimes it can be incredibly rewarding, especially if your child has a difficult time making friends in-person. Be sure to speak to their online friend’s parent before planning a day and time to meet. Then, when you all decide to meet, stay with your child the entire time.
8. Limit Time On The Internet
When kids get excited about something, they latch onto it pretty easily. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that time management goes right out the window. Figure out a way to help your child manage their time so they can enjoy browsing the internet, while still getting all of their homework and chores done.
The next time your child goes online, go over all of our internet safety tips with them. Chances are, they’ve already used the internet many times, whether it’s on their smartphone or in school.It’s your duty as a parent to educate them on how to stay safe before they get into any trouble.
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