The Internet can be a wonderful tool – for learning, research, staying in contact with friends and family, and getting things done quickly and remotely. However, the Internet can also be a scary place, especially for parents worrying about what their children may came across online.
These Internet safety tips will help ensure that going online is a positive experience for you and your child.
1. Discover the Internet together
Using the Internet together makes it easier for your children to share both positive and negative experiences in the future.
2. Set Internet rules and agree on them with your child.
Points for discussion include: how long it is acceptable for your child to use the Internet, how to treat personal information, how to behave towards others online and agreeing on the types of content that are acceptable.
3. Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information
It’s vital for your children to be conscious of when and where it is all right to reveal personal information, particularly for older children using social networking sites like Facebook.
4. Talk about the risks associated with meeting online “friends” in person
The Internet can be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends. However, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by someone they trust.
5. Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online
Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant.
6. Don’t be too critical towards your child’s exploration of the Internet
Children may come across adult material by accident, or they may intentionally search for these sites. Remember, it’s natural for children to be curious about off-limits material. Try to use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity.
7. Report online material you may consider illegal to the appropriate authorities
It is vital that we all take responsibility for the Web and report matters, which we believe could be illegal.
8. Encourage respect for others
There are informal ethical rules for how to behave when relating to other people on the Internet. These include being polite, using correct language and not yell at (write in capital letters) or harass others.
9. Let your children show you what they like to do online
Let your child show you which websites they like visiting and what they do there. Acquiring technical knowledge could also make it easier to make the right decisions regarding your child’s Internet use.
10. Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives.
The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children. Encourage your child to be critically aware and explore the Internet to its full potential.