The internet is here to stay and it’s important that we teach internet safety for kids. Here are some simple cybersafety tips you can use to promote internet safety in your home.
One of the biggest uses of the internet today is email. For kids internet safety it’s important you lay some ground rules for their use of the internet, email and social networking sites. Here are a few rules to get you started.
- Be Aware – Email goes Everywhere… Be sure to teach your kids how to use the internet email safely and to only send email to those they want to. The the autofill option and confusing screen names, can make it easy to send an email message to the wrong person. They’ll want to double and triple check that the email is only going to the people they want it to.
- Watch out for the Reply All Function – One key internet safety tips for kids it to watch out for the Reply All option. This is where your child will be sending the email back to everyone on the list, versus the Reply option which only goes back to the original sender. Very often it’s not appropriate to reply to everyone.
- Spam is gross! – Sure your kids may know about the processed meat in a can, but teach them about spam on the internet. Sob Stories, urban legends and chain letters have been circulating through the internet for years, and there is no reason you children need to keep the chain going. Before they forward something they think is funny to their whole address book have them stop and think if it’s appropriate to do so, and if it’s just “junk” that will clutter up and in box.
- Skip the attachments – This is a key internet safety tip for kids. For the most part, unless it’s schoolwork related, tell your children to skip sending thing in attachments – a lot of email programs block these because they can easily be infected with a virus and they can take up a lot of room in an inbox.
- Emails Go Everywhere – Pity the poor kid who has had an email forwarded around the globe – or even just around town. make sure your kids know that email can be sent and resent and that it can never just be deleted. Coach your kids on the importance of not writing anything in an email they wouldn’t want anyone else to see – like “I can’t stand so and so…” They may think emails are private, but as parents well know, that’s not really the case at all.
- TMI – This stand for too Much Information and is an important cybersafety rule. This goes for email as well as social networking sites. Teens and even tweens are flocking to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Allykatz and Club Penguin, where they can set up profiles, instant message and share things about themselves. Remind your kids that these sites are filled with strangers and that they should never give out last names, addresses or other personal information. Also tell them that when they chat, it’s just like writing a letter and they should follow the old rule, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it…”
- Beware the Cyberbully – There’s a new bully in town and he (or she) is on the Internet. Cyberbullying is a growing internet safety threat for kids. Your child may bethe victim of hurtful things on email or the Internet – make sure your tween feels comfortable telling you about anything inappropriate – from peers making rude comments to emails from strangers. In this case, it’s perfectly appropriate to step and do something about it. Contact the email sender, the website, even school officials. Suggest your child change his or her email or social networking account, or better yet, take a rest from email and internet until the situation blows over or you have gotten to the bottom of it.
Internet safety for kids can be tricky for both parents and kids, but it’s important that you teach your children the dos and don’ts of email and social networking so they learn the proper way to use these great technological tools – and stay cybersafe!