How To Talk To Your Kids About Online Safety

September 25, 2020

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Teach your kids the wisdom to stay safe.

Remember learning about "Stranger Danger"? Every kid is taught basic physical safety and security, like not talking to strangers and to ask a police officer if you're in trouble in public. That will always be important, but today they also need to be aware of online safety. Teaching young people easy to learn life lessons for online safety and privacy begins with parents leading the way and being there to teach them.

Teach them that the Internet is forever. What you post can last a lifetime. Help your children understand that any information they share online can easily be copied and is almost impossible to take back. Teach them to consider who might see a post in the future and how it could harm them.

Teach them there are bad people out there. A naive child might not understand that there are bad people out there who want to take advantage of them. Make sure that they know that somebody online who seems like a friend might not really be on their side.

Check their social media. In this day and age, banning them from the Internet might be impossible. But at least work with them to keep their account safe and to keep their profiles clean from personally identifying information.

Watch out for games. Kids aren't just talking on their phones and social media. Look at how they use their Steam accounts and chat with people in multiplayer games. Predators can target kids there too.

Personal information is like currency. Information about your kids, such as the games they like to play and what they search for online, has value – just like money. Talk to your kids about the value of their information and how to be selective with the information they provide to apps and websites. Don't give big corporations your most valuable assets.

Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: Remind children and family members about the golden rule and that it applies online as well. What they do online can positively or negatively impact other people. Teach them to be kind and nice to others.

Own your online presence: Start the conversation about the public nature of the Internet early. Learn about and teach your kids how to use privacy and security settings on their favorite online games, apps and platforms.

Remain positively engaged: Pay attention to and know the online environments your children use. In the real world, there are good and bad neighborhoods, and the online world is no different. Help them to identify safe and trusted websites and apps. Encourage them to be cautious about clicking on, downloading, posting and uploading content. Depending on their age, you might want to use monitoring software to protect and check up on them.

Stay current. The technology landscape changes quickly: from Instagram to SnapChat to TikTok and more. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Keep up with new technology and ways to manage privacy. Visit trusted websites for the latest information about ways to stay safe online. Talk about what you discovered with your family, and engage them on a regular basis to share what they know about privacy.

Having a good relationship with your kids and talking to them about this can help keep your most treasured people in your life safe. Above all else, following best privacy practices and communicating your concerns clearly and consistently will keep children safer!

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and learned something new! Check out our Learning Center to learn more about online privacy and security or consider subscribing to our Online Privacy Service to remove your phone number, name, and address from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo search results and hundreds of data broker sites.