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Tips For Teaching Digital Safety

This is a guest blog post written by Hilary Smith

Social media sites do take measures to help safeguard our children, but merely reporting or tagging worrisome posts is not enough. Parents can’t rely solely on moderators or good luck to ensure their child’s safety. That’s why it is important for us to educate our sons and daughters about digital safety.

Listed below are six strategies to help empower and protect our digital natives:

  • Stress how important it is to only interact with real friends or actual people they know in real life. It sounds simple, but a lot of our children accept friend requests from strangers. Often they might be a ‘friend of a friend’, but sometimes online predators create fake profiles posing as young kids to groom our youth. This method, known as “catfishing”, allows predators access to our kids private information and trust to advance relationships.
  • Show children ways they can protect private information online. We need to arm our children with the necessary skills to navigate privacy settings and keep their address, phone number, location, and schedule hidden on social media sites.
  • Tell children to keep their passwords private- even from friends. Friendships evolve and every once in awhile friendships crumble. While this is a completely normal part of childhood, many former BFF’s take their problems online and use the Internet to inflict revenge. Keeping passwords private can limit another person’s access to personal photos and information.
  • Help children know that online behaviors can impact their futures. Don’t wait until it is too late! Teach social media etiquette early and encourage kids to post items they would only feel comfortable with their grandparents viewing. Make sure children know that what they share online may be viewed by future colleges, scholarship committees, employers, and even children!
  • Encourage kids to seek help from an adult if they encounter or witness cyber bullying, begin receiving messages from strangers, and are asked for personal information. Unfortunately, bad things do happen. We need to be on top of any issues before they spiral out of hand.
  • Be in the know about a child’s digital activity. It is believed that 70 percent of teens hide their activity from their parents. It is important to monitor a child’s social media apps, know their passwords or usernames, track a child’s cell phone, and friend them online so you can check in time-to-time.

How do you teach online safety to your family?

 

 

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