Tip 1 – Be smart about internet rules
It’s a good idea to have rules about using the computer/tablet/smartphone, that way you can control your child’s usage and exposure. You can use parental control software to make sure that your children aren’t exposed to inappropriate content. Also a good idea is to establish allowed time to be online and keeping the devices in open family spaces. A fun exercise to do together would be to make a Web Smart contract between you and your child about how to stay safe when they use the internet.
Tip 2 – Be smart about what you share online
What we share online leaves a digital footprint. Anyone can see what we share and can then share it forwards, even after we delete the content we’ve shared. It’s important to talk to children about the content that they share and that they understand that others can easily take their personal information, photos, and other content and misuse or abuse it. Information that should be kept private includes your current home address, schools, credit card numbers, and hobbies (for children). For our protection it’s important to lock all online accounts with a strong password that includes lower and upper case letters and numbers, the longer the password the better.
Tip 3 – Be smart and prepared to answer tough questions
When children are surfing online they may see lots of different things, something that can be curious or even inappropriate for them, even with parental control software. You as their parent or guardian need to be prepared to answer questions that your children may have about what they see online. These may be questions about explicit adult content, same sex relations, religion, different cultures and many other topics.
Tip 4 – Be smart about your anti-virus software
It is important to have an up to date anti-virus software. You or your child might accidentally download a file or open an email that contains a virus. If you don’t have an anti-virus protection your computer or device can be hacked, which can mean that the device gets wiped for all its information. And that can put us in danger of being scammed, identity theft, credit card fraud and loss of all documents. Never store very sensitive information on your personal computer/device for this reason. Talk to your child about downloads and have them always ask you if they can download a certain file and if they can open an email from a stranger.
Tip 5 – Be smart about Social Media and your child
Social media plays a big part of our lives these days and is a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends. Your child may want to use these pages as well but keep in mind that they have age limits. There are predators online that stalk children and children online can be vulnerable. Tell your child that not everyone is as they seem online and make sure that they only befriend people that they know and can trust. If your child does befriend a stranger online it’s important that they understand that they should not meet that person. If an online friend asks to meet them your child should tell you. If your child wants a social media account help them set it up and make sure that the security and privacy settings are set at the highest possible level.
Tip 6 – Be smart about cyber bullying and the consequences
Bullying is a serious issue in today’s society, and cyber bullying takes it to another level because we can’t escape it. The bullies aren’t just in the classroom and playground but also at home, on the computer. Talk to your child about the severe consequences bullying and cyber bullying can have on others. If your child is being bullied let him/her know that it’s safe to talk to you or any other adult that they can trust and they can also call the ChildSafe Hotline on 012 — 311 112 or email ChildSafe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip 7 – Be Smart about exploring the internet together.
Even though there are dangers lurking online, the internet is a wonderful place. There is a lot of valuable information online and it’s important to know how to find what we are looking for and to be able to properly assess the information that we are exposed to when online.
Encourage your child to explore and find stories, games, math exercises and other things that interest them online.