Tech corner

Teaching internet safety to kids

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Top tips to keep your children safe online

Not unlike learning how to ride a bike, if you want your kids to use the internet safely and responsibly, you need to guide them and offer expert advice. Parental control software is a good place to start but there are extra precautions you can take to ensure that they remain aware of online safety themselves.

 

Staying safe from strangers

With the ever-increasing popularity of online multiplayer games, it’s almost inevitable that your child will end up making a few friends online. Though this isn’t inherently a bad thing, as online friendships are often successful when it comes to helping shy children to come out of their cage a little, you and your child need to make sure that everything is as it seems.

First of all, teach them to never give out personal information online. If they’re talking to someone who is trying to get their address or full name, explain to them why they should never share this type of info. Going by a pseudonym is often a good precaution for children, as it helps to protect their true identity.

 

Don’t believe everything you read

Children need to know that not everything they read online is true. Using the internet as a resource for homework and such is all well and good, but they should still come to you to make sure that they haven’t been duped by any false information.

This also applies to any rumours they may read on social media sites about friends or acquaintances – let them know that just because someone has posted about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it happened.

 

Be careful what you post

If you post something online, chances are it’ll stay there for a very long time. Your children need to understand the weight of this, so let them know that they shouldn’t be posting videos or photos on any account that doesn’t have sufficient privacy settings in place.

This is also a good way to teach them not to take part in any forms of cyberbullying, as nasty comments and posts can be screenshotted and used against them in the future. Explain to your children why it’s important to be kind online as well as in real life, and why they should never use the anonymity of the internet to partake in rude behaviour or targeted harassment.

 

Only visit websites they know are safe

Try to limit your children to just a handful of websites and keep track of what they are. Let them know that they should never click on any ads that may pop up on their webpages, as it can lead to viruses or unwanted content. If they do ever come across any pop-ups, tell them that they must show you immediately so that you can prevent them being exposed to anything inappropriate or dangerous.

If your child has an email account, they need to know never to click on any strange attachments, especially they come through to their junk inbox.

 

Be safe with passwords and usernames

Explain to your kids why they must keep all of their passwords to themselves, with the only exception being any family members who might need access. The best way to keep track is to write them down somewhere private, like a diary, and keep it in a very safe place.

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