Cyber Security 101: Tips On Teaching Children To Be Safe Online

Teaching kids safety online

The Internet can be a wonderful tool for children to use, providing them with information and entertainment. At the same time in today’s day in age, the Internet can also be a portal that leaves children vulnerable to unsavory people and dealings. It has become more and more apparent that parents need to play a vital role by teaching their children how to be safe online.

Online Safety

Cyber Security 101: Tips On Teaching Children To Be Safe Online

If cyber security is a topic you haven’t brought up with your children or you’re unsure of where to start, then check out the following tips:

Bring Up the Issue at a Young Age

Rather than waiting to have the conversation with your kids when they are teenagers, the experts suggest you start talking about online security at a young age. Basically, from the time they are able to start using the Internet, the discussion should be brought up. By having the conversation at a young age you’ll be instilling good safety habits and awareness right from the start.

Keep in mind that even if kids aren’t old enough to use the computer on their own, and you’re sitting with them, it’s still a good age to bring up the topic of cyber security.

Make Clear That Actions Online Should be No Different Than in Real Life

Here’s a really simple rule or tip that you can share with kids – if they wouldn’t do it or say it in their actual life, then they shouldn’t be doing it online. It’s important that they don’t feel protected by the computer and its screen but, rather they need to understand that they are speaking with other people and engaging with the real world. This is also a wonderful segue-way into online bullying.

Online bullying is happening at record levels over the past couple of years and at some point there is a chance your child may become the victim of it or even become an online bully themselves. The best way to prevent your child from being involved in online bullying is to teach him/her what it is and make it clear that it isn’t acceptable. If they are the victim of online bullying they need to feel safe knowing they can come to you and discuss it.

The Internet is Forever

Unlike in real life where you can write something down in a journal and only you will see, when you record thoughts, feelings, and post pictures online they are there forever. This is another important piece of information kids need to be aware of. You want them to think twice about what they are posting so they are sure to post content they feel comfortable and confident in, even many years from now.

Stranger Danger Exists Online Too

As parents, you’ve likely taught your children the importance of not speaking to strangers but, that line can become blurred when you’re online. It’s important to reinforce that the stranger danger rule applies in an online setting too. They should always be wary when speaking to people online and let them know they shouldn’t be giving away personal details, contact information, or agreeing to meet with people.

Make Sure You Are on Their Contact Lists

If your children are old enough to have social networks, then you will want to be on their friends’ list. This provides you an opportunity to see what they are posting, who they are engaging with, and what kind of content those people are posting on their page.

Unknown Attachments, Sites, Ads

Teach your children to never download attachments from people that they do not know. These attachments are notorious for containing malware that could hack and steal your personal information or destroy your computer. Additionally, make sure your kids don’t click on pop-up ads or visit adult-themed sites. These sites and ads can also contain malware.

Encourage Them to Use Strong Passwords

Passwords are an excellent way to protect a personal information, but in order for the password to be effective it has to be a strong one. Teaching your child how to create strong passwords is another step that will help ensure their safety online. Passwords should always be long, have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. It should seem completely random so that hackers can’t break in.

Continue the Discussion

Even after you have the initial discussion about cyber security and how important it is, you still want to make sure it’s an open-door policy and give your children smart outlets, ways and people to talk to about this issue. Encourage your kids to come to you with any questions they may have and be sure to re-visit the subject every once in awhile.

Author Bio: Joanna Sommer

Joanna is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.

Disclosure: This blog uses affiliate advertising, and some visual ads were used within this post. If purchases are made through clicking on these links, I will receive compensation for the referral. Thank you for helping to support this site! You can view my full disclosure statement here.

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