We have had quiet a few questions on safe internet use for children recently, so thought we should do some research and develop a fact-sheet on tips for ensuring your child is safe on the internet. The internet is an amazing resource for children and should not be banned due to the potential for unsafe access. To ensure parents can minimize the risk of their children accessing information that may hurt them see the following tips:
- Showing them how to configure privacy settings, and ensuring that they are set to the highest privacy option on all apps and devices.
- Know who your child is talking to online – it is easy for people to create false identities and lure children into dangerous situations. Ask whether a parent or trusted adult can “Friend” your child.
- Sharing information is NOT anonymous, explain to your child that anything that he or she uploads may be visible for decades or longer.
- Explain why we always keep our personal information private – never provide names, addresses, inappropriate images, passwords, etc.
- Be wary of phishing emails – Show your child how to determine if a message or email asking for private information or money is fake.
- Explain that they should talk to their parents if they see or experience anyone asking to meet them in person, any cyber-bullying or abuse, or any content that makes them feel worried or uncomfortable.
- Set family rules for usage – When they go online, what sites they visit, what to share, and how to treat others politely and with respect.
- If possible make sure content is age-appropriate before use by reviewing government classifications (PG, G, etc) or online ratings from sites like Common Sense Media.
From personal experience the best software The Safety Educator has found for blocking access to inappropriate content is the free OpenDNS FamilyShield software. Our favorite family based media site, Common Sense Media, also has a great article on other methods of blocking content. For the PDF version of our fact sheet please see below.
We hope you find the fact-sheet useful, if you have any comments or questions please comment below or access our social sites.