It’s crucial to discuss internet safety with your kids, but many parents often don’t know how. I want to share a few tips to keep children safe online and to ensure everybody in your family understands why it’s important to make smart choices and how to make them.
I stopped fighting technology a long time and rather accepted that I prefer teaching my kids how to use it in a safe manner. As they grow older, the challenges are different. Restricting access to certain sites sooner or later won’t work, because there are so many access points: tablets, iPods, cell phones, friend’s homes and even e-readers. Yes, you should still manage the settings but we must face the fact that the best thing we can do is teach our kids how to make smart choices, know how to protect themselves and understand the risks of navigating the internet and social media.
By now, both my kids (who are almost 11 and 8) know that anything you post on the Internet should be assumed to be public. I do not believe there is such thing as online privacy, no matter how private your settings are on social networks. If you want something to be private, keep it offline. I’ve also discussed Instagram with my tween and was surprised to discover how many parents allowed their kids to have an account but don’t even know what is being shared.
Since many parents don’t surf cyberspace with their kids but they do watch TV together, I think it’s really cool that Disney Channel’s TV show Dog With A Blog, decided to focus on social networks and shared these practical Internet Safety Tips courtesy of Disney Channel and Common Sense Media. The episode airs Sunday August 11 at 8 p.m. ET and is very useful because it can help you get the conversation started. It also shows in a funny way how things online can quickly get out of hand.
More tips to discuss internet safety
- Avoid giving a lecture.
- Ask your kid what he or she thinks about social networks, their usefulness, and whether they have heard about cyber bullying.
- Allow them to ask you questions. Respond honestly.
- Give examples of how you use the Internet, how you stay safe, why you don’t share certain things and explain how once something is posted online, simply deleting it does not make it disappear.
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