Gone are the days when children used the internet for one reason and one reason only: MSN. There was nothing better than logging in after a long day at school and chatting the night away to the same pals you’d spent the entire day with…
Except researching your display name, of course, which had to use every character on the keyboard to make the cut, and downloading a library of emoji’s you’d soon come to regret.
Today, the internet is so much more than just a bit of after school fun. Children rely on it for education. It’s a treasure chest of information and a wonderful resource for learning.
Like most great things, however, the internet does have its downsides. Now that it’s more widely used, it’s important that children understand the dangers of the internet and how to use it responsibly. On Safer Internet Day, here are our tips for parents:
- Firstly, have an open conversation with your children about what threats are out there. It’s important they understand the reasons for your supervision. Let them ask questions and answer them as honestly as you can.
- Educate children about personal data, what concludes as personal data and why it should never be shared online. The same applies to usernames, passwords and any other information that may help cyber criminals access their accounts.
- Make sure they understand the seriousness of cyberbullying. The type of language they use must always be respectful and well mannered. Likewise, if your child experiences bullying online, they should come to you straight away.
- Teach children to think before they post online. Anything they post will remain on the internet indefinitely, even if they delete it.
- Never share personal images online, even with friends! Help them understand that, once an image has been shared, how it’s used is out of their control.
- Stranger danger is just as big of a threat online as it is in real life. If they receive messages or phone calls from anyone they don’t know, they must end the conversation immediately and tell an adult.
- Tell them why sharing fake news and misinformation is dangerous, and why they shouldn’t believe everything they read online!
In a world that’s becoming more and more digital, the best way to protect children is to educate them on the dangers of the internet and how best to handle them.
Jam Coding has been delivering Digital Safety and Digital Citizen workshops to primary school children and their parents since 2014. We have ongoing funding to deliver these for free in certain geographical areas. If you are interested please contact us.
Do you have any other tips for safer internet usage? Join the conversation using #SaferInternetDay