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Parents these days have a lot more to worry about than they used to. Schools are way stricter when it comes to penalizing parents for late students. Zero tolerance policies means that a simple school spat can turn into a major debacle. And, of course, there's also the constant-possibility that your child might do something idiotic online that could ruin their lives, too.
If you are a parent that wants to let their kid go online, then you need to give them internet safety tips for kids. Here's the best list for them to follow, and how to discuss every tip with them.
Don't send nude photos of yourself to others.
While this is an article about internet tips for kids, it's important to realize that teenagers are still kids in the eyes of the law. Sexting is common, and believe it or not, teenagers who are caught sending nude photos of themselves to others can be arrested and labeled as sex offenders.
Emphasize to them that it's not worth the risk, and explain to them the consequences that can happen if they get caught doing this. Once you're on that list, you will never get off of it. So, tell them not to do it.
Always ask your parents before you sign up for a gaming site.
Some gaming sites are nothing more than malware wrapped up in a fun exterior, and that can make your computer a landmine for viruses. If you want to make sure that your child is safe online, then make sure to have them keep you updated on where they're going and who they're talking to.
If you aren't sure you can trust them to do that, installing some parent-ready browser plugins will give you an idea of what they're up to when they get online. Some parental monitoring systems will also give you a heads up about who they're talking to, if that's a concern for you.
That being said, giving your kids some space is often the wisest choice for you.
Don't post anything on social media that you might regret later.
This is a tough one, but it's also one of the smartest internet safety tips for kids and adults alike. Social media is a permanent thing these days, and there have been thousands of cases this year alone in which online outrage over a statement caused people to get expelled from school, lose their job, or get harassed to the point that they became traumatized.
So, tell them that they can't post anything on social media that involves the following:
- Hate speech
- Overly sexual stuff
- Words that involve physical harm to themselves or others
- Anything they wouldn't say in front of their friends and teachers
A good rule of thumb I've learned is to keep things positive — or don't post at all. Future technology-using them will thank you for this advice.
Actually, they might not want to get social media until they're in high school.
Few internet safety tips for kids will help them be as careful about their social lives as this one. Could you imagine the embarrassment you'd face if your current friends saw your terrible pre-teenage years?
It's also worth noting that social media tends to drum up unwanted drama and gives bullies an opportunity to find a new way to hurt you. So, doing this will help them survive high school and college relatively unscathed.
Don't give out your passwords to anyone, and don't give out personal information without parental consent.
This is one of the oldest internet safety tips for kids out there — and it's just as true now as it was in the 90s. Personal information is personal, and the best way to stay safe on the internet is to be as tight-lipped as possible about passwords, phone numbers, and even your own name.
You might want to explain cyber security basics to your child in order to help them understand the importance of keeping personal information and passwords secret. Even teaching them simple things like not opening suspect emails is a smart move.
If your child wants to sign up for something or give someone their password, then they should ask you for permission first. That way, you know what programs they're using and what services they're on.
Parental controls are available for a reason, you know.
Parental control software and kid-friendly browsing were created because there were so many cases of parents finding their children seeing messed up things online. Though it may not be the best thing for parents against censorship, using parental controls until your child's at least 10 years old is a good idea.
That way, they don't see stuff they shouldn't see — and they also are less likely to have viruses get installed on their computers. (Yes, parental controls also block at-risk sites, and that's great news for parents who don't want a bricked computer.)
Remember, you don't know the people you meet on the net.
Who a person is in real life and who they are on the net can be two different things altogether. There are a lot of cases of old men masquerading as young teenagers to lure others into a kidnapping.
There's also the trend of "catfishing" people, and you can also get hurt by that, too. As a result, one of the best internet safety tips you can offer your child is telling them to take everyone with a grain of salt — and to never meet anyone online in real life.
Play nice, and report online bullying to your parents.
In many ways, the internet is also like a playground. There will be bullies out there who want to hurt others, but the general smart rule is to play nice with others. Part of teaching online safety tips for kids is to tell them how to play nice, and teach them how to stay safe online by being nice to others.
Most kids don't realize there are real-life consequences to their online antics. Teach your kids that being a bully online can have real-life consequences, and also make sure they tell you when others are bullying them.
It's also a good idea to brush up on what you can do if you have evidence of online bullying happening to your child. After all, reporting the bullying doesn't do anything if you won't help them out.