It seems like these days children are venturing out into cyber space at younger ages. With the rise of technology comes the rise for potential safety risks. Your personal information along with that of your child can easily become fodder for online predators. Since spring break is just around the corner for the local Bryan/College Station area, your children will have more time to be online and while the Internet is a great way for your children to learn new things and have some fun, their online safety is still important. Here are a few easy personal safety tips when navigating these virtual waters:
Set boundaries: Computers have parental locks on them for a reason. If your child is able to be on the computer while you are away, set parental locks on the Internet so that they do not see things they are not supposed to.
"Stranger Danger": This common phrase not only applies in the real world, but in cyber space as well. Teach your children not to accept friend requests or chat invites from anybody they do not personally know. Educate your children on the very real perils of talking to strangers online. Remember that it's easy to lie on the internet. People may not be who they say they are and while children are trusting, they should understand this concept.
Personal information should stay that way: Make sure that they understand that their personal information should stay just that, personal. Teach them about the dangers that go along with giving out personal details on the Internet. No one wants some random stranger showing up on your doorstep or becoming a victim of identity theft.
Proper online etiquette: It's easy to become enchanted with the people we interact with online. By teaching your children about proper online etiquette, they can help curb cyber bullying. They should act online just as they would if they were interacting in the real world.
Cyber bullying: Inform your children about cyber bullying and the dangers it imposes. If your child is being harassed online, allow them to have an open environment in which they can come to you about the problem. Also, inform them that just as they would not want to be bullied, they should not bully anyone else. Just because the acts are virtual does not make them any less real.
Social media site rules: If you allow your children to have accounts on social media sites, monitor what they have access to and what they allow others to access. When they make their accounts, show them examples of things they should be posting and things they should stay away from.
Here's an animated video made especially for children informing them about cyber safety: