Telling Your Kids Why They Need To Be Safe On The Internet

For children to be safe on the Internet, parents must discuss the specific threats and dangers that lurk online. You can set up the Fort Knox of Internet blocking and parental control software. But your efforts are useless if you don’t have an open discussion with your children about the consequences of their Internet actions.

Dangers of the Internet: Exchanging Personal Information

Identity theft is one of the most common crimes committed online. Children should understand that exchanging personal information with strangers or on websites can put them in harm’s way.
This information can be used to gain access to a family’s bank account information, address and other details, and can put children at risk of encountering cyber predators.
Children may be unknowingly giving out important details about themselves by their online user names. Make sure your child avoids an online ID that divulges anything specific about him, like a name, location, birth date or interest. Encourage him to choose a generic screen name.
Consider using a modified version of your child’s name for her social networking page and make sure every privacy function possible is enabled through the site. This will make it harder for people to search for your child and find personal information about her.

Internet Safety Precautions: Discussing a Child’s Online Reputation and Responsibilities

Children can fall victim to the many dangerous people and websites on the Internet, and they can do a lot of damage to themselves. Discuss the realities of your child’s interactions online and the consequences that can come from abusing the medium.
Teach your children to treat the words and photos they share on Internet like a permanent marker instead of a chalk that can easily be erased. These activities will stick with them, and some of these actions have prolonged negative consequences, even if a child promptly removes or retracts information. Simply “googling” a person’s name can turn up seemingly endless information about nearly every action made by that person online.
As a parent, act responsibly online regarding your children. Never use your child’s full name online, especially when mentioning details about them or posting a picture on a social networking site or blog. Always use a nickname.
The laws pertaining to internet safety will continue to combat these online forms of harassment and torment, and the consequences can be far more severe than enduring a bad reputation at school.