For most kids summer vacation is fast approaching, so now is a great time to talk about online safety with them. More time at home means more time on the computer for many, and whether or not you’ve had a talk about online safety with them before, it’s never a bad thing to cover the ground rules of staying safe on the Internet.
We’re not suggesting you suffocate kids with rules; just teach them that with a few common sense tips they’ll stay out of trouble. (Not to mention keep their Internet privileges intact) If you don’t know where to start with a talk about online safety, give these six tips a try:
- Talk to your kids about expectations:
Every household is different with regard to what is acceptable to view online and what isn’t. Be sure to let your kids know what the rules are so they can make good decisions. Online safety starts at home with a talk.
- Educate yourself & your kids:
Every generation has their own slang. You had it, I had it, your kids have it and there’s definitely a new way of talking when it comes to texting on cell phones or chatting on the Internet. Go to places like Urban Dictionary or our blog post on common cell phone & texting acronyms if you see something you don’t get, daddy-o. Can ya dig it?
- No F2F or IRL meetings with strangers:
There’s your first 2 definitions: F2F means Face to Face and IRL means In Real Life. If talking with strangers online is bad, setting up a meeting with them is even worse! Be clear with your kids: no one will be arranging to meet anyone, child or adult, who they don’t know already. Classmates, neighborhood friends, Cousin Tommy from Portland… they’re probably OK. But not UltraSuperHotGirl1954 (any similarities with a real username is purely coincidental & unintended) from that one website, who is probably a 56 year old dude looking for trouble.
- Limit time on the Internet:
It’s summer time and the livin’s easy! Encourage your kids to step away from the computer and work on a real tan outside (with sunscreen, of course) instead of a monitor tan inside. Get them involved in a summer sport, take them hiking, or just get them out mowing the lawn. Whatever it is they do outside, fresh air = good and all day on the computer = bad.
- Check out your kids social profiles:
Don’t be afraid to get up in their business. It’s your responsibility to make sure that they’re not getting themselves into trouble. (Whether they know it or not) Keeping tabs on who they’re talking to and what they’re up to isn’t snooping, it’s good parenting and an integral part of your kids online safety.
- Personal info stays private:
So much of your kids online safety is in their hands every time they type. Where they live, their email address, the name of their school: these are all things an online predator can use against them. Teach them that any personally identifiable information is an online safety no-no.
Having a fun, safe summer is easy; it just takes a little nudge in the right direction from a loving hand. Enjoy your summer!