While computers and the Internet have opened limitless opportunities to gain access to knowledge and information, as with all progress, they have also created the capacity for some to take advantage of others negatively online. For this reason, it is vital that anyone using the Internet learn how to protect and guard against becoming a victim of Internet crimes/criminals.
You would never reveal any personal information about yourself or your family to a complete stranger. That same rule applies to online activity. As parents, it is extremely important to educate yourself and your children about the dangers present online. It’s also vital to create and enforce Internet usage rules. Creating these boundaries will allow for a safer Internet experience.
Some Tips for Internet Safety
- Educate yourself, ask questions, and find out which sites children are using — have access to your child's passwords so that you are able to monitor online activities.
- Use parental controls built into software and apps.
- Activate privacy features built into social networks to limit strangers accessing personal information, photos, videos, and status updates.
- Create and enforce established times that your children are allowed to be online.
- Avoid having computers in children's bedrooms. Instead, screens should be in commonly shared areas (living rooms, kitchens, dens) for monitoring usage habits.
- Encourage children to let you know immediately anytime they are being harassed or made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable while online. Report any cyberbullying situations.
- Keep personal information private.
- Use only made-up screen names, and never share your passwords with anyone other than your parents.
- Be careful what you browse and download. Don't view things you wouldn't view in front of your parents. Downloaded material and email attachments may contain viruses and other malware.
- Things posted online can stay there forever. Never upload illegal or offensive content. Don’t post things you wouldn't post or share with your parents.
- Never approve friend requests or add people you don’t know in real life. Never meet a stranger in person whom you met online without being accompanied by a parent — and do so only in a public place.
- Don’t harass, troll, or bully others or post things intending to cause embarrassment and hurt feelings. If someone tries to bully, harass, or troll you, report and block a bully/troll immediately.