The Internet can be a wonderful tool for your children – promoting their learning and research, helping them stay in touch with family and friends and having fun.
On the other hand, however, the Internet can also be a risky place where children can put themselves at risk and access inappropriate content, whether they mean to or not.
These top 10 Internet safety tips will help ensure that going online is a positive experience for your family.
- Discover the Internet together – playing on the net together gives you a chance to point out safe and appropriate online behaviour.
- Set Internet rules and consequences for breaking them – agree on these with your child. For example: How long are they allowed the use the Internet? What information are the allowed to share?
- Let your children show you what they do online – engage with your children about the website the visit, games they play etc. so that you can monitor their internet use in an inclusive and collaborative way.
- Teach your child to be careful when disclosing personal information, especially when older children start using social networking sites like Facebook.
- It’s important that children understand the risk associated with online ‘friends’ Make a clear rule that they do not meet strangers they have met online in person without being accompanied by someone they trust.
- Children should be taught to evaluate online information and be aware that not all of it is correct, accurate or relevant.
- If your child does come across inappropriate content, use this as an opening to discuss the content with them and don’t be too critical of them.
- Teach your children to take responsibility and report online material they may consider unsafe or illegal – either to you or to the appropriate authorities.
- Encourage your child to respect others – use correct language and be polite as they would be expected to act in ‘real life’.
- Bear in mind that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives –when your child is able to explore the Internet equipped with critical thinking, they can take advantage of its safe educational and recreational potential.