Internet Safety Tips for School-Aged Kids
With teens reportedly spending one-third of their days online—and younger kids not far behind—it’s imperative that parents and teachers ensure the safety of school-aged kids on the Internet.
Of course, the Internet is a big place, and it’s populated by hackers, bullies, and those who would take advantage of children and teens. So how can we truly monitor kids and keep them safe? Start by following the Internet safety tips below!
Tips for Kids
- Never give out personal information online. This includes passwords, last name, address, telephone number, where you go to school, etc. Don’t give passwords to anyone, not even your best friends.
- Don’t post photos or videos without parental permission. If your parents say that a picture or video is inappropriate, understand that they are only trying to keep you safe.
- Remember that not everything you read online is true, and people aren’t always who they say they are. Don’t talk to strangers online, and never meet an Internet friend without permission from your parents. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t met them in person, don’t add them on social media.
- Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know. Additionally, talk to your parents before downloading software. Attachments and software can contain viruses.
- If something makes you uncomfortable online, talk to your parents or teachers. Don’t respond to mean messages or bullying, and don’t bully others.
- Use privacy settings on social media. Without privacy settings, anyone can see every picture, video, or status update that you post online. People with bad intentions can use this information to harm you.
- Think critically about what you view online. Ask yourself if a website truly looks safe and reliable. Fact check the information you find online—is this from a random person or a reputable source? Are other sources reporting the same information?
Tips for Parents and Teachers
- Communicate. Talk to your children and students about what they do/view online and why. Discuss safe practices, rules, and boundaries. Outline what makes content appropriate versus inappropriate and safe versus unsafe. Help them feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns.
- Be a positive media mentor. Whether they make it clear or not, your children look up to you. They’re likely to emulate your behavior, so model appropriate Internet practices. As you set rules and boundaries, observe them yourself. Children are more likely to “buy in” when they see that the rules apply to you as well.
Keeping school-aged kids safe online may seem like a tall order, but it’s not impossible. Teach appropriate rules and boundaries, keep the lines of communication open, and model the online behaviors that you expect from your children and students.
Following these tips will help the children in your life reap the benefits of the Internet while avoiding the risks.