The Internet over the years has revolutionized communications, and it is a wonderful tool for your children. They can use it to research school assignments, communicate with friends, and play interactive games.
However, when it comes to your children’s online activities, you need to make sure they’re protected against contact with predators, cyberbullies inappropriate or harmful content such as sexually explicit content, violent content, obscene or age-inappropriate content.
Basic guidelines to share with your kids for safe online use:
- Never trade personal pictures.
- Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location.
- Use only a screen name and don’t share passwords (other than with parents).
- Never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.
- Never respond to a threatening email, message, post, or text.
- Always tell a parent or other trusted adult about any communication or conversation that was scary or hurtful.
Parents should also be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves.
Basic guidelines for parental supervision:
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behaviour.
- Keep the computer in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in individual bedrooms. Monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets.
- Bookmark kids’ favourite sites for easy access.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
Talk to your kids, keep an open line of communication and make sure that they feel comfortable turning to you when they have problems online.
Taking an active role in your kids’ Internet activities helps ensure that they benefit from them without being exposed to the potential dangers.