It is very common to see children with internet-connected devices today. While these digital natives are growing up always-connected, it is important for parents to educate them about how to stay safe while online.
A 2019 survey by Google revealed some of the concerns that parents and educators have when it comes to children being online. Among the top concerns of parents include privacy and security, oversharing of information and inappropriate content.
Google also has a Be Internet Awesome parent’s guide that is available online which outlines five “Be”s which parents can educate their children on.
Teaching Kids to Stay Safe Online
1. Be Smart
Parents can teach children to be aware of the information which they are sharing online and who they are sharing it with. Kids should be taught that online communication is similar to face-to-face communications; if kids would not share information or say something in the real world, they should not do so online. As an example, personal details are not appropriate to be shared online.
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2. Be Alert
Information (and mis-information) can spread easily online. Teach kids to discern if information that comes to them is real or fake. They need to be aware that people can pose as others online to gain trust or trick others. Scams which claim that they are the “specially selected winner” or will “free prizes” by clicking on link are also likely false. Google has a phishing quiz which parents and children can do together to learn about how to tell if something is fake online.
3. Be Strong
When it comes to personal privacy and security, teach them to secure online accounts by using strong and unique passwords. Avoid the use of personal information such as names or birthdays.
4. Be Kind
A lot of people hide behind what they perceive as the anonymity of the internet. Particularly with social media, this can lead to anti-social or negative behaviour. Parents can teach children that they should treat others online as they would want to be treated, and exhibit the right behaviour while online. They should help to encourage positivity rather than negativity. They should also be encouraged to speak up and report online bullying behaviour.
5. Be Brave
Kids should be encouraged to speak with a trusted adult if they come across something questionable online. Parents can also promote this brave behaviour by maintaining an open channel for communication with their child, checking in with them often and encouraging them to ask questions.
Be Internet Awesome Guide
For more ideas on how to teach kids how to stay safe online, visiting the Be Internet Awesome where the full Be Internet Awesome Family Guide is available for download.