Our children are online, we cannot avoid it. Online safety is a priority for every child. Parents are the best teachers, so we advise that parents spend time teaching and guiding children about how to stay safe online. The internet has a lot of benefits but the reality is that there is also a host of online safety tips every child needs to know.
12 Online Safety Tips
A stranger online is still a stranger. The same rules that apply in reality and day to day also apply online. When it comes to online safety, just because someone says they are a girl based in Port Harcourt does not mean that is true. People can easily take on a person they choose to online for various reasons. [Tweet “A stranger online is still a stranger.”]
2. Be Wise
There is a good side and bad side to everything, so while the internet has many advantages you still need to use caution when you are using the internet. Being wise when it comes to online safety means pausing and thinking about what you are doing online.
3. Be Truthful
Do not lie on social media, just because you think you can say anything you want does not make a lie acceptable. Do not lie about who you are and do not lie about others. Use social media for good.
4. Do not believe everything you read
Not all news and stories you read are true as fake news is rampant on the internet. Anyone can choose to share anything they wish to on the internet, so you cannot believe everything you see. Always check more than one source for information.
The truth is that anyone can share whatever opinion they have and whatever content they want to online. You need to be very careful and verify all sources.
5. Do not share personal information
Do not share personal information online. Information like your address, bank account details and more should be kept private. As part of your online safety awareness, before sharing any information online, everyone needs to verify that it is on a secure site and for an official purpose. In fact, most financial institutions would never ask you to share your pin or password via email; if you get any of those emails be sure to verify the source and report it.
6. Use for good
The internet and other online platforms can be used for good. It can be compared to when the telephone was invented, people were glad they could easily communicate with others far away. It is the same way that the internet, email and social media is a great communication tool. When used positively and to leverage on an ever-connected global community, it is a good thing. Our children can use it to learn about the world and to be better informed.
7. Build positive digital assets
When it comes to digital assets, it is important to teach your children that when in doubt, they should not share. At the end of the day, we all need to remember that everything you share stays online forever. So the idea that you can say anything you want and get away with it is not true. Everything you do online leaves a trail, you build your digital assets with every comment, picture and interaction online. Be sure that if your teacher or future employer googles your name – they will not be shocked by what they find. A few people have missed out on dream job offers because of inappropriate information shared at some point online. [Read: How to Know if you are a 21st Century Mum]
[Tweet “Everything you do online leaves a trail, you build your digital assets with every comment, picture and interaction online”]
8. Like and Followers are not that important
In this social media world, do not replace the importance of real relationships and face to face interactions for the allure of followers and likes. Do not become socially awkward because of social media.
9. Be careful about suspicious links
Do not trust every link that you are encouraged to click. Some of these links are there purely to steal data, give access to hackers and spyware. When it comes to online safety, i is critical to verify links before you click on them and definitely before you share any information. Because once you give your information out it can be used and even sold.
10. Do not keep secrets
There is no other way to say this, but do not keep secrets from your parents and adults who supervise you. No one that really cares about you will tell you to keep secrets and this applies online.
11. Do not be rude
We believe that online communications does not take away the rules of proper engagement. As a result, your children need to know that it is not right to be rude online. In fact, a simple rule is if you do not have something nice to say then do not say it. It is inappropriate to hide behind your avatars or handles and leave rude comments on people’s profiles or accounts.
12. Cyberbullying is wrong
Speak up if it happens to you and do not do it! Cyberbullying and saying hateful things about someone is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. It is important to find out your school’s policies and report any cases to the right authorities.
The benefits of the internet and the online digital world is immense. There are basic tips to keep in mind as you become active on the internet to protect yourself from any dangers. Parents are advised to have these conversations with their children.