Internet Safety Tips to Teach Your Children Today

by Emily Murray

Technology is changing day-today, minute-to minute and with these changes come new opportunities as well as new dangers. Today’s children are becoming more proficient with computers and smart phones faster and at a younger age than any other generation. To help keep your children out of harm's way, it is more important than ever that you teach them Internet safety as soon as they begin using the Internet.

1. Talk to them about what they need to watch out for.

Tell them that you know they enjoy being on the Internet, but you want them to do it carefully. Ask them if anything bad has ever happened while they were online. Let them know that you want them to come to you if anything makes them feel afraid, angry or hurt. This is a conversation that can be lifesaving and can be extremely important. Write up a list and put it near the computer reminding your kids what they should tell you about immediately.

2. Reinforce the “Don't talk to strangers,” rule as it applies online

We all know this rule from being a child, but now it goes for the Internet as well as the real world. If someone they don't know wants to "friend" them or "chat" with them, they should say no and tell you immediately. Tell them that although most people are nice, there are also bad people who might lie to them or offer them gifts to try and get them to talk or meet them outside the internet. Explain that even if someone says "I’m a friend of your mom's," it might not be the truth and they should always come and talk to you immediately.

3. Don't go there.

Tell your children that there are certain websites that are bad or are only for grownups. Give them a list of websites that are okay for them to be on. If they ask you about a website you are unfamiliar with, tell them you will have a look at it and let them know if it is one they can visit. You can also block certain sites through your Internet browser’s safety and security setting and enable only specific sites to work when the children are logged in under their own account.

4. Never tell anything personal.

Sometimes there are innocent looking websites that ask for personal information, like name, address and telephone number. Some of these ask this information for legitimate reasons, but others are trying to phish for information to commit fraud or even stalk a potential victim. Explain to your children that they must not ever type in any personal information about themselves or anyone else they know. If they find a website like that, tell them not to type anything in and show you immediately so you can discern if it is legitimate or not.

The Internet is a place for learning and discovery to children. With the right knowledge, it will be a safe one.

Emily is a health and family blogger and also a contributing writer for Invesp, a site that helps clients with their conversion optimization efforts.

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