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Internet Safety Tips For Kids and Parents: How to Promote Healthy, Positive Internet Use

23 September, 2022


          
            Internet Safety Tips For Kids and Parents: How to Promote Healthy, Positive Internet Use - Inspirely | STEAM Education

There's no doubt that the Internet is mega-useful - but it also has the unfortunate potential to be mega-dangerous for young people. Here are a few of the most crucial tips for parents to help you keep your child safely and positively engaged when exploring online communities. 

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Out of all the countless inventions to come out of the past century, the Internet is definitely one of, if not the most prominent. From streamlining communication to making important resources widely accessible for users worldwide, it's consistently been one of the main driving factors in our progress towards modern technology.  

But, of course, the Internet also comes with its cons and downsides - especially for young children in particular, who are far more vulnerable to the dangers of the web than knowledgeable adults. Nowadays, online spaces and communities are rampant with scams, data thieves, predators, and cyberbullying, and because access to them is so hard to control and filter in the age of social media, youth are more susceptible to these threats than ever before.

Why is Internet safety so important?

Our society's rapidly growing reliance on the Internet is just one of the reasons why all young people should be taught to curate a danger-free online experience. There are many others: learning personal security, enforcing positive communication, and providing your children with a sound preparation for a tech-based career.

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Internet safety isn't only important - it's essential. Children need to know that in the 21st century, it won't just be strangers or irresponsible drivers who can cause danger to them anymore. It can also be an adult disguising themselves as a gaming buddy, an anonymous stalker on their social media profile, or a hacker looking to exploit their name and identity. 

That's why, as parents, it's our responsibility to educate our children about Internet safety - and now, more than ever, it's our duty to make sure they remember these teachings so that they can keep themselves secure, protected, and happy on the web. 

So what can you do to help give your child an Internet experience that is not only safe, but also promotes healthy and proactive online engagement? Look no further: here are a few of the most important tips to keep in mind when introducing young kids to the uncharted territories of the Internet.

1. Teach your child to guard all their personal information

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The number one thing all children should know is to never, ever give out personal information about themselves on the Internet. Make sure your kids know to keep social media profiles low-key, and discourage them from offering any details to strangers online like last names, birthdays, or addresses. Let them know to not share information that could make it easy to identify them in real life either - even revealing the school they attend or the rough area they live in has its risks. 

This includes photos, of course. While a selfie on a private Instagram profile may be fine for older children, constantly exposing themselves by publicizing every aspect of their everyday lives is nothing short of a bad idea. Identity theft is a rampant issue these days, and giving potential thieves a name and a face will only help them to commit their crime, so drill it into your child's head to always keep sensitive and important information private.

2. Make sure your child knows about potential threats

A good sense of online safety begins by comprehending the reasons why it's so crucial. When your child is around the age where they can be trusted to use the web on their own, you should educate them about the dangers they may encounter online and the threats to their safety that could make them vulnerable. Take care to explain important topics like how to protect sensitive information, how to healthily engage with social media, and how to act when encountering cases of cyberbullying.

This isn't to scare them off the Internet or intimidate them into using it less, of course. It's to foster an understanding of the ups and downs of gaining access to the web, and it's a necessary step towards encouraging your child to take matters into their own hands when it comes to defending their privacy and security. Being able to use the Internet implies independence, responsibility, and awareness! Make sure your child knows that. 

3. Monitor your child's apps and websites

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To keep your children safe at all times, you should make a habit of regularly screening and double-checking the applications and websites they frequently use. There are many programs online that are designed specifically for stealing information and money (if your child has access to it), so to make sure they don't fall victim to any of these tricky scams, you should always keep tabs on the kinds of apps and software your children download. 

If you find anything at all that looks suspicious, it's better to get rid of it altogether than take the risk. Train your child to recognize the signs for themselves, too - apps that constantly ask for personal information beyond the scope of what is necessary should never be trusted without a thorough examination.

4. Keep your child's software updated

Those regular updates that companies push out so often aren't just there for decoration - most of them provide crucial security patches and bug fixes to keep their programs and applications as safe as can be. That's why it's important to consistently check for updates on your child's devices. Though it may get to be a hassle at times, it also ensures no loopholes or exploitations can be done within the software to threaten your child's information and security. 

This is also a great learning opportunity for children. Take them through the explanations and reasons behind each update, and help them understand how technology works and why constant improvements and solutions are important to have in the online world.

5. Exercise parental controls if necessary

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While they get a bad reputation sometimes for their controlling, restrictive nature, parental control software can still be helpful in safeguarding children's experience on the Internet. There's no need to overly limit what your child can see, hear, and do through the web, but turning on parental controls enables you to filter mature or inappropriate content capable of negatively affecting your child. 

It's important to keep use of this type of software to a healthy level, though, and not go overboard with controlling your child's entire online experience. Independence and responsibility are some of the qualities that a healthy relationship with the Internet can teach. By being watchful enough to monitor their activities but also lenient enough to allow a certain degree of free exploration on the web, you can guarantee that relationship for your child without sacrificing their autonomy.

6. Sign your child up for an Internet safety course

If you're already doing most of these other things, why not take your education of online safety to the next level? Interactive Internet safety courses - likethis program offered on Inspirely | STEAM Education - can provide guidance on a level that goes well beyond simple parental admonishments.

In a course like this one, your child will engage in hands-on, practical learning of all the tips and tricks to guard them on the Internet, and also learn some crucial computing basics and web-based knowledge on the side. Instructors are carefully selected to teach children the foundational components of cyber safety through kid-friendly games and activities, allowing your child to learn how to be cautious while having fun. 

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Maintaining a safe and healthy relationship with the Internet is crucial for young children. Not only does it help them learn responsibility, independence, and control, it also offers them a virtually limitless amount of resources and prepares them for our technology-driven society in their near future. By teaching your child to explore online spaces in an attentive and positive manner, you can guarantee both their well-being and security as well as their satisfaction. 

 

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