The internet is a wonderful thing for learning and education. The internet has also become a staple in our daily lives. But just like teaching your kids about the dangers of the world, you must also teach them about the dangers of using the internet and how to practice responsible cyber safety. Here you will learn How to Teach Cyber Safety to Kids!
So what is cyber safety? Cyber safety is the safe and responsible use of Information and communication technology. That is a pretty broad statement. So what exactly does that mean and how should you explain it to your kids? Most kids in general think they are invincible and they have an attitude that nothing bad is going to happen to them. This is normal thinking for children and that is where you as the parent come in. It is your responsibility to train them and teach them that there are predators out there and how to protect themselves from them.
The internet has only been around for a short period of time and there are so many things to learn. The internet and technology change so fast that it is very difficult to keep up with the latest trends as they occur. As a parent, it has proven to be very challenging to know what your kids are participating in, as well as, how to keep them safe.
We are going to talk in depth about the internet and how you as a parent can learn and keep up with the latest trends. We are also going to talk about how to teach your kids about cyber safety and how they can protect themselves.
How to Teach Cyber Safety for Kids? Develop A Cyber Safety Plan With Your Kids
It is important to sit down with your kids and develop a cyber safety plan. Many kids are wondering “what is cyber safety” and this is what we need to answer. This is your opportunity to spend some quality time bonding with your kids while enabling the conversation of cyber safety without them feeling like you are lecturing them.
- Antivirus software and internet protection software. You need to purchase antivirus software or internet protection software. There are many very good reputable companies out there who supply these services. It is extremely important that you purchase one and keep it up to date to protect yourself against viruses, malware, and any new online threats that may arise. Most of this software will update itself automatically, but you may have to adjust the settings and set it up that way before it will run automatically. If you have any questions about how to do this or how to use particular software, just call the company you bought it from. Most of them have excellent customer and tech support
- It is important to protect all of your devices that connect to the internet. So when you are purchasing your online protection, make sure you purchase a package that covers every device you use to connect to the internet. All your computers, all your smartphones, all your gaming devices and anything else you or your children use to access the internet
- Protect your information. Learn how to set the privacy settings and security settings on each website your child uses. Then teach your child why this is important and how they can limit the information they share with others and how to determine with who to share their information. Here is a website that has great information about talking to your kids about internet safety.
- Email links, internet advertising and any other piece of information your child receives online can potentially be dangerous. Teach your child not to click on any email links without knowing for sure where that email came from. The same thing goes for downloads. Anything attached to the internet can have hidden dangers and can compromise your computer, your personal data and your identity, including personal information about your child. So it’s very important that together you learn how to spot suspicious emails, downloads, internet advertising, etc. Sometimes even when you think you recognize the source, it could still be a cleverly disguised attempt by a cyber criminal to take advantage of you. If you notice anything at all that does not seem right, your best bet is to delete it immediately. This is another reason your online security software is so important, but nothing is ever 100% guaranteed to protect you 100% of the time
- Never ever give out your personal information such as usernames and passwords to an email request or any other person or company that is asking for it online or over the phone for that matter. Most reputable companies will not request your personal information via email or over the phone. If you do receive a request of this nature, do not respond. It would be better for you to find their phone number, a number that you know is legitimate, and call them. You initiate the call. That way you will know without a doubt that you are not getting a person or a company that is disguised as someone you do business with in order to obtain your personal information
- Participate with your kids while they are surfing online. Get familiar with their hangouts and learn how to use them. When you come across something that is questionable let your kids show you that they did in fact recognize that a piece of questionable content came up and that they know how to handle it when it does. Your child will appreciate the quality time you spend with them on the internet. And this offers you the opportunity to teach them what to do if something comes up that they don’t know how to handle. Additionally, it is very important that you offer them some positive praise when they recognize and handle something appropriately. Remember the old saying “recognize what you want to be repeated”. Children want to please you and with positive reinforcement, they will continue to make the right decisions even when you aren’t around to help them
- Talk to your children about the consequences of bad internet decisions. Children are not always aware of just how public the internet really is; therefore, you need to give them a scenario about what happens when they post information online and how that information can be distributed. Make them more aware that anything they put online lines such as pictures, videos, and personal information about themselves like their birthday, their phone number and their address can give a predator just the little bit of information they need to put themselves and their family in danger. Kids generally know this, but they don’t always realize how broad it really is. Let them know that anything and everything they do online can potentially harm their reputation and their future if handled inappropriately. Tell them stories and give them examples of how this happens. It is extremely important that you find a way to make them understand how serious this really is. You could find some news reports or talk to the school counsellor about any handouts they may have available. But most importantly, you want to talk with your child about this in a way that does not make them shut you out. Practice how you are going to bring it up, what you are going to say and how you are going to say it
- Spend some time role playing. Go through the different ways how inappropriate things come about on the internet. Teach your child some critical thinking skills to help them learn what is and is not appropriate and how to handle the inappropriate things when they do arise. The best way to do this is to role play with them. So they have some firsthand experience of exactly how they should handle things as they happen. This will also help your child not have to question whether something is inappropriate or not. Because you have already taught them through role playing how to identify and handle these things immediately. Again, you can get some supporting documentation on internet cyberbullying support sites or talk to your child’s school counsellor for assistance in how to go about having this role-playing session
How to Teach Cyber Safety for Kids? You Should Have Parental Controls In Place
As a parent, it is important that you have the proper parental controls in place. The internet can be open season for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of your children. Parental controls are available on most internet enabled devices.
Here are some other parental controls to help protect your child from cyber criminals, this is How to Teach Cyber Safety for Kids
- Make sure your kids don’t spend all of their time on the computer. Your child should have friends outside of their internet friends and acquaintances
- Keep your family’s computers in an open area where they can be monitored when in use. A child’s computer should not be kept in their bedroom where it cannot be monitored at all times
- Teach your kids to never meet with anyone they met online without your being present
- If you see your child doing something wrong on the internet, don’t overreact. You want them to feel comfortable coming to you with problems in the future. But they won’t if they always feel like they will be in trouble
- Find out what your kids enjoy online and talk to them about their interests. You can learn quite a bit this way. Here is a great website to help you get that conversation started.
- Get to know who their online friends are just like you would any of their other friends. Always remember though, that in the online world people generally do not use their real names. They will use a fake name. So you need to recognize that and keep track of them accordingly
- Talk to your child and let them know that people who seem friendly on the internet do not always have their best interests in mind. Let your child know the potential for danger in what they are doing
- Talk to your kids about internet rules and keep a list posted next to the computer as a reminder
- Get to know the parents of your child’s friends and talk with other parents about the websites that their child visits. Listen, learn and compare notes. You may find out things to be aware of that you didn’t know. Or new things that you have yet to discover.
How to Teach Cyber Safety for Kids? Be Aware Of CyberBullying
Cyberbullying is growing at an alarming rate. Therefore, it is important to be able to recognize it when it does happen and to learn what you can do to stop it.
- Put limits on where your child puts their personal information and put limits on who can access that information. This will help reduce the risk of them becoming a victim of cyberbullying
- If you discover a bully, avoid returning the hostility as this will only escalate the situation
- Document all cases of cyberbullying. Keep all records such as emails, chat room conversations, social media posts, etc. You will also need to note dates and times. It is also a good idea to save it electronically and produce a printed version as well
- If you suspect a cyberbully, talk to your child’s teachers and counsellors and make them aware of the situation
- Cyberbullying can be hard to identify because the bully can remain anonymous. This is why it is so important that you keep an open line of communication with your child and be very aware of all their online activities
- If your child is being bullied and it is beyond your control to help, it might be time to contact the local authorities; however, they may refer you to the FBI
How to Teach Cyber Safety for Kids? Online Games And How To Protect Your Kids
Online games and gaming groups are a sneaky way for cyber criminals to creep into your child’s life unnoticed. Teach your kids not to post pictures of themselves or to give out any type of personal information about themselves to their fellow gamers.
It doesn’t take long for your kids to develop a “friend” type of relationship with other online gamers that they only know from the internet. They have a tendency to treat them just like they would any of their other friends. So it is important that you talk to them about their gaming acquaintances and help them to realize the difference between an online only friend and their other friends.
Additionally, it is also important to let them know what they should do if another gamer starts to harass them. You can start by participating with them in their online gaming. Show them how to block other players if they begin to bully them and don’t hesitate to report them. Most websites do not tolerate bullying and have policies in place to help prevent it. They generally will not hesitate to ban a bully.
Remember to teach your kids not to download games from people they don’t know and from places they aren’t familiar with. This includes what the kids call “cheats”. These cheats claim to help them with their game performance but they could be carrying malware.
So let’s recap. What is cyber safety and how can you protect your kids. Cyber safety is the safe and responsible use of Information and communication technology. We have talked in depth about cyber safety, how to recognize it and what you can do about it. But is that enough?
It is so hard for parents to know where to turn when they need help. Whether it be for cyberbullying prevention or whether they have discovered that their child is being cyberbullied. There are many available resources that will help guide you and offer you support. Whatever it takes to help you and your child.
Here are some resources that will help you deal with cyberbullying. These websites and groups are there to help you with whatever you need. So take advantage of all they have to offer.
1. Microsoft Windows Parental Control Guide – this guide will teach you all about the parental controls that are available to you on Windows and how to set them up.
2. The Worlds First Smart Modem – this device could take parental controls to a whole new level.
3. National Crime Prevention Counsel– this website provides information about stopping cyberbullying before it starts.
4. Entertainment Software Rating Board – The ESRB ratings will provide you with all the information you need in order to make an educated assessment of the video games and apps your children are using:
5. Playstation Knowledge Center For Parents – this website provides a Playstation network and security settings for parents:
6. National Center For Missing And Exploited Children – did you know that 97% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 play online games (computer, web, portable) and 27% of them play them play online with people they have never met? This site has loads of information about internet security, cyberbullying and many other things related to a child’s safety – not just gaming:
So now you know the answer to the original question “what is cyberbullying.” Now you also know how to talk to your kids about it, how to protect them and who to turn to when you need help.
The most important thing is for you to be constantly aware of everything your child is doing online and offline for that matter. Awareness is the key to prevention. Talk to your children daily, and keep a good dialogue going with them. Help them feel comfortable talking with you about anything.