You’ve heard about the danger. It’s out there in many places, such as Facebook, Twitter, Chat rooms, Texting, and File Sharing. What do you know about safe online practices? How can you help protect your kids?
According to many experts, the best thing you can do to protect your kids is to talk to them about internet safety. Two websites can help you and kids avoid the worst dangers on the web. You’ll find plenty of advice at On Guard Online and Net Smartz.
Below, I’ll offer a few tips I’ve found. However, if you have time, take a look at this video: Chatting with Kids About Being Online.
Why do you need to talk to kids?
At NetSmartz, I ran into some survey stats from 2006, showing how important it is to influence your kids online behavior.
33% of 13- to- 17-year-olds reported that their parents or guardians know very littleor nothingabout what they do on the Internet.
48% of 16-17s said their parents or guardians know very littleor nothing.
Fully 22% of those surveyed reported their parents or guardians have never discussed Internet safety with them.
On the other hand, 36% of youthâ€”girls and younger teens most notablyâ€”said that their parents or guardians have talked to them a lotabout online safety, and 70% said their parents or guardians have discussed the subject with them during the past year.
Fewer teens whose families have talked to them a lotabout online safety have an IM name or pictures of themselves on the Internet, compared to kids whose families have not talked to them at all. More teens who’ve talked to parents or guardians also ignore messages from unfamiliar people, refuse to reply or chat, block unknown senders, and report these occurrences to trusted adults.
How can you get a conversation started?
I also found some good questions to get you started. (from NetSmartz)
Can I take a look at what you have been posting online?
Does anyone else have access to your passwords?
What information is okay to share online?
What information should you keep private?
What could someone learn about you from what you post online?
How might they use this information?
Have you ever regretted anything you posted online?
What advice should you give? What actions should you take?
I also found this advice at NetSmartz.
Make sure that your child takes advantage of the privacy settings on social networking sites.
Pre-approve the pictures and videos your child posts online.
Remind your child never to post e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers.
Tell your child that passwords should only be shared with parents and guardians.
Teach your child not to respond to any e-mails requesting personal information and to delete e-mails from unknown senders.
Discuss how to keep screen names and e-mail addresses gender-neutral, appropriate, and free of any information that could reveal identity.
Encourage your child to tell you right away if anything happens online that bothers or frightens him or her.
I’ve only covered a tiny part of the help and advice available to parents. Be sure to take a look.