There are a number of serious issues that make the point of cyber safety a serious one. There is the risk of identity theft. There are the rising risks that come with the growing number of child predators that now make the internet their hunting ground. One of the most impactful and high profile threats out there in cyberspace is cyberbullying. There have been some large cases in which students have used the internet to torment other teenagers. Several of those situations have actually ended up with the victim committing suicide.
With all the risks out there, especially for kids and teenagers, how do we create a safe cyber environment for our children? There is no easy answer to that question, but with the right amount of education coupled with a commitment to spend the time and effort necessary, you can improve the safety of your children’s internet experience.
The first step in insuring cyber safety in your home is to have an open line of communication with your children. The things that you want to communicate with your child are the real risks and how to minimize their exposure to those risks. You also want to communicate what they should do if they are ever exposed to anything harmful on the internet.
It is important for your children to understand that no matter what happens, it is okay for them to come to you. Often children will become embarrassed by certain types of experiences and to them, it seems extremely difficult to talk about those experiences, especially with their parents. Consistent communication with your children will make it easier for them to talk with you when the time comes when they actually need your talk the most.
Another reason you want to have continuous communication with your children is that it allows you exposure to them so that if something happens you will have a better chance of sensing any change in your child and taking action to determine what may be happening to torment that child. Don’t minimize the issue or be overly suspicious, finding someone to blame won’t fix it.
You will want to establish a set of Cyber Safety rules that set the boundaries that will provide a parameter of cyber security for your child. It is extremely important to reinforce the understanding of why these measures are necessary. It is imperative that you establish the consequences of violating these policies and be consistent with the rules that you set. Cyber Safety Rules are not made to be broken.
Also, monitor their internet activity. Make sure you learn how to track your child’s activity online. In fact, make sure that they understand that you will be checking behind them to make sure that they are adhering to the safety rules that you have set. This will help stem the tide of their natural inquisitiveness and curiosity.
Report any suspicious online activities to the proper authorities. Almost every city of significant size has a cyber-crime unit. They will know the steps to take to investigate the situation.
Simply, be involved and be vigilant when it comes to Cyber Safety.