Kids in elementary school are sometimes looking for more independence with using the Internet as they can play games and find other types of entertainment right at their fingertips. So how do you keep your child safe and not become vulnerable to scams, cyber-bullying, and Internet predators? Kids may already be using the computer at school and at friend’s houses so it’s necessary to have a computer safety talk with them. Here are a list of some of things you may want to discuss with them when it comes to using the internet.
1. Before letting your children use the computer sit down and set your rules and expectations. It is wise to set time limits and let them know that you will be monitoring their use on the computer. In your homes you may already have gaming systems such as a playstation, wii, gameboys etc.. this should all be figured in with the computer time limits as well.
2. Look for family friendly and child appropriate games. Make sure to keep an eye on the ratings. Try and find games for them that have some educational value as well.
3. Educate yourself about the sites your child intends to use. Ensure your kids follow age limits on the sites. The recommended age for signing up for social website such as facebook, twitter and myspace is usually 13 and over. If your children are under the recommended age for these sites, don’t let them use these sites. There are different sites that offer contracts to help protect your kids online. Here is just one of many, but don’t rely just on these sites, it’s your responsibility to help monitor. Learn more HERE!
4. Let them know the importance of not to clicking on unknown links and telling a parent or teacher if they see something that makes them uncomfortable.
5. You may want to discuss that sharing private information without your permission is not allowed (examples include name, telephone number, address etc..) Reminding them that everything that is put on the internet (including photos) other people may see, even if it was intended for another person.
6. Talk to you children about never communicating with strangers online and the importance of this.
These are just a few things to consider while having a serious discussion about the use of the internet with your child. Based on your child’s age you may find some or all of these helpful or may want to discuss other important things with them as well. The goal is to let your child have a positive experience and keep them safe while using the internet.
For more information on discussing child safety on the internet please go to our FACEBOOK page.