Talking To Your Kids About Internet Safety Procedures

Talking to your children about Internet safety procedures is an important discussion in today’s digital world. Make sure kids understand that these safety precautions apply to your family computers as well as devices outside of your home.

Dangers of the Internet: What Every Kid Should Know
The Internet is full of helpful and insightful information, connecting children to a world of possibilities. Talk to your children about some major hazards associated with this medium, including cyber bullying, sexual predators and adult material.

Make sure they know that their actions online, particularly on social networking sites, will stay with them. Encourage them to think twice before making every post.

How Do I Know if My Child is Involved in Unsafe Behavior Online?
Children may be using the Internet inappropriately or be the target by an online predator if:
• They receive phone calls or gifts from people you don’t know.
• They refuse to discuss their online activities with you.
• They spend long hours online, especially at night.
• They turn off the computer screen or click away from a site when you walk in the room.
• They withdraw socially from friends and family.

If you feel these issues are occurring, try to take a more active role in your child’s online activities and create a clear set of online rules.

Internet Safety Precautions: Online Procedures to Put in Place at Your Home
Your family should have very clear Internet safety rules in place. After you teach your children about the dangers lurking online, make sure you enforce a strict code of conduct at home.

Some common family online rules include:

• Ask that you be introduced digitally to new online friends of your children.

• Children should never agree to meet anyone in person from a chat room.

• Children should never share personal information, like phone numbers, school names, addresses or even a location. Always use just your screen name, but make sure that moniker doesn’t reveal any personal information like a birth date or town of residence.

• Kids should never trade personal photographs over the Internet.

• Tell children to talk to a parent if they encounter any communication, conversation or material online that was frightening. The effects of the Internet on children can be damaging, but an open dialogue between parents and children can help kids have a healthy relationship with the web.