On the 9th of February, schools will be recognising Internet Safety Day. This is an initiative from the federal government to educate children, parents and teachers about sound techniques and rules for safe online behaviour.
The Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. Kids who are old enough to swipe a screen can have access to the world.
But that access can also pose hazards. For example, an 8-year-old might do an online search for “Lego.” But with just one missed keystroke, the word “Legs” is entered instead, and the child may be directed to a slew of websites with a focus on legs — some of which may contain pornographic material.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of what your kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online.
As with any safety issue, it’s wise to talk with your kids about your concerns, take advantage of resources to protect them, and keep a close eye on their activities.
Some suggestions to children for staying safe online:
- I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number without my parents’ permission.
- I will tell my parents right away if I come across something that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I will never agree to get together with someone I “meet” online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring a parent along.
- I will talk with my parents about posting pictures of myself or others online and not post any pictures that my parents consider to be inappropriate.
- I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away.
- I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online and using a mobile phone. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
- I will not give out my passwords to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
- I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or mobile device or jeopardize my family’s privacy.
- I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law.
- I will help my parents understand how to have fun and learn things online and teach them things about the Internet, computers and other technology