Teaching your kids to be safe online is a priority for parents. These 10 tips will help them avoid risky situations.
- Social media can be both extremely useful but also risky when not used correctly
- Show children examples of cyberbullying, so if it happens to them, they can identify and report it
- Teach your children to treat strangers online with the same caution they would in real life
Below are our top 10 tips for teaching children about online safety:
1. Talk openly about online safetyHaving an open and honest chat with your kids about the dangers of the internet is one of the best ways to keep them safe. Show them that talking about what happens online is important.
2. Establish rulesSet clear rules, such as how many hours your children can spend online per day or when they need to disconnect before bedtime. This way you can keep track of their screen time and spot any changes in their behaviour.
3. Put limits on devicesParental blocks can help you manage the type of websites your children access and filter the content they see. By putting parental controls on your children’s devices, you can limit what they’re exposed to, to a certain extent.
4. Keep calmIf your child shows you something inappropriate or you’re not comfortable with, it’s important to stay calm. This way they should feel comfortable sharing inappropriate content with you again in the future. If it’s something you think should be reported to the police, don’t delete it.
5. Keep screens in a public area of the houseA good way to keep an eye on what your children are looking at is to keep use of devices to family areas. Your living room, kitchen and dining room are ideal places where their online activity will be visible. This is also helpful to protect them from things like cyberbullying.
6. Get tech savvyIf you don’t know how to use the devices and websites your children do, then you won’t be able to monitor their usage. Sharpen up your skills to have a better understanding of the sites your children are visiting and apps they use.
7. Add your child as a friend on social mediaA good way to know exactly what your child is sharing on their social media accounts is by adding or following them. This gives you a great overview of exactly what they’re posting and sharing with others. It also means you can see who else they’re friends with and ask questions about anything you’re unsure about.
8. Demonstrate that anything put online is permanentTeaching kids about cookies and their digital footprint is important. It can deter children from sharing photos and information that could be harmful to them later in life. Explain how hard it is to get things removed from the internet and that once you share something it remains online forever.
9. Talk about cyberbullyingIf your child’s behaviour changes, they could be a victim of cyberbullying. Teaching your kids how to recognise the difference between normal behaviour and bullying or trolling is a good way to get them to flag harmful behaviours.
10. Warn them about stranger danger
Just as you’d teach children not to speak to strangers on the street, encourage them to only speak to their friends online. Make sure they’re aware of the dangers and have the confidence to speak to you about anything they’re unsure about. Show them an example of a fake profile to illustrate that not everyone is who they say they are online.
For more tips about online safety, head to our cyber security hub to find out more.
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