You talk to your kids about strangers and physical safety—but are they smart about online behavior? Here are some tips to help parents explain why it’s important to be cautious when connecting.
- Online posts last a lifetime. Most of the time, kids and tweens start connecting online with friends through texting, social media or gaming or messenger apps. Explain how any information, pictures or words shared online can be copied, saved or shared. Consider who might see a post in the future and how words and actions can affect them later.
- Personal information is worth money. Information about your kids—like the games they play and their search history--has value, just like money. Teach your children how to be selective about what information they provide to apps and websites.
- Post using the golden rule. Kids need to be reminded that they should always stop and think “Would I want someone to say this about me?” before they comment. Online interaction can either positively or negatively affect other people.
- Own your online presence. The internet is full of people using it for malicious reasons. Learn about and teach your kids how to use privacy and security settings across apps, games and platforms.
- Remain engaged. As a parent, you should have boundaries and rules about devices and platforms. Whether it’s following or friending your child on platforms, or an open rule about reading messages and texts, it’s vital to stay involved in your child’s digital life. The adolescent brain has an underdeveloped frontal cortex that doesn’t think through consequences before actions. As they grow, they’ll learn important life skills to help them make good decisions.
- Stay current. Use trusted websites like www.staysafeonline.org to learn about new technology and ways to manage privacy. Talk about what you learn with your kids and have discussions with them about ways to stay safe.
For more ideas about what kids think, check out this infographic about the digital lives of American teens. Stay Safe Online has an extensive section for parents about raising digital citizens, cyberbulling and harassment, parental controls, and gaming tips.
Find safety and security tips from the National Cyber Security Awareness Month group and its partners at www.stopthinkconnect.org.
In today’s world, digitally connected families must think about safety and security both online and offline. Teaching young people easy-to-learn life lessons for online safety and privacy begins with parents leading the way.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
The National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was created in 2004 to help ensure that all Americans have the information they need to be safe and secure online and to help protect their personal information in the digital age.
Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the goal of NCSAM is to reach consumers, industry, government, academia and nonprofit organizations nationwide and encouraging all internet users to be #CyberAware.